Wednesday, April 12, 2017
China Warns North Korea On Nukes
After Trump's Syrian Attack, China Suddenly Gets Very Concerned About North Korea's Nukes
North Korea's Kim Jong-un appears to be preparing for a sixth nuclear test, and has threatened the U.S. with a nuclear strike if it tries to interfere. (AP)
international newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party,
warned that China's government has a "bottom line" and that if "the
bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available
including the military means to strike back."
The editorial went a step further, telling North Korea that it won't wait
for the U.S. to do the dirty work, but "will launch attacks to (North Korea's)
nuclear facilities on its own."
Since February, China has been curbing its trade with North Korea, and
in recent days even turned away a fleet of North Korean merchant ships
filled with coal, the impoverished nation's No. 1 export. So things are
about to get ugly in North Korea's already-strapped economy.
Here in the U.S., we've been dealing with North Korea's provocations
since the Korean War in the 1950s. Most Americans don't realize it,
but that war never officially ended. There's only a truce.
The nuclear mess, however, is of recent vintage. Trump is dealing with
the failures of previous U.S. administrations to end the threat, either
by twisting China's arm or by direct action. In the early 1990s, when
North Korea threatened nuclear devastation and war with South
Korea, President Clinton sent former President Jimmy Carter to
negotiate an end to the threat.
The Clinton White House proudly announced the "deal": an end to
North Korea's military nuclear program in exchange for billions of
dollars in aid and "peaceful" nuclear technology. Within just two
years, however, North Korea was cheating.
Hopes of getting China to help out with North Korea hit bottom last
year, after China expressed open contempt for President Obama,
even humiliating the president during last summer's G-20 economic
summit by refusing to roll out a red carpet for him as it had for the
other leaders and forcing Obama and National Security Advisor
Susan Rice to deplane from the rear of Air Force One. This only
emboldened North Korea's Kim.
"Kim knows that Xi is not about to further goals, like the denuclearization
of North Korea, that (Obama) promotes, and so Pyongyang thinks it has a big green light in its quest to possess the world's most
destructive weapons," wrote China expert Gordon Chang at the
time. That's what Obama's weakness in the face of China's open
As for those who think the threat isn't real, they should think again.
North Korea has focused intently on building a viable nuclear
threat for nearly three decades, and has made consistent progress
both in building warheads and long-range missiles to deliver them.
A 2014 study by the U.S. based Institute for Science and International
Security estimated that North Korea could have enough nuclear
material for as many as 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. That's three
years away, folks.
As we noted before, China now has gotten the message: Trump isn't
going to roll over like Obama did, and he means business. Xi learned
this after being informed during a steak and seafood dinner that Trump
had launched 59 Tomahawks at that chemical weapons base in
Syria — without asking Russia's permission, and after giving it just
a short warning to get its troops out of harm's way.
That certainly explains China's sudden shift in tone toward North
Korea to one of open hostility. China now knows there's a president
who not only understands U.S. interests in the region, but has explicitly
told China that any trade deals between our two nations will depend
on its cooperation in ending North Korea's nuclear threat.
Being nice and negotiating phony nuclear deals with North Korea
hasn't worked. The "six-party talks" on North Korea's nukes that
have been going on since 2003 haven't worked either. By restoring
U.S. credibility, Trump has made China care about North Korea's
nuclear threat in a way it never did before. It may be the best chance
we have of avoiding a nuclear catastrophe from a nation ruled by a