No U.S. policy has so far reined in North Korea’s provocative missile program, so it may be time to consider applying pressure on Beijing, the reclusive country’s main ally. This is one option put forward by China watcher Gordon Chang following news that North Korea launched a ballistic missile that, after a 500 km flight, landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsular and Japan on Sunday (local time).
“We have had a policy of trying to work with Beijing, and that policy has been in effect since 2003, since the beginning of the Six Party Talks, but nothing seems to push China in the right direction,” Chang told CNN.
The Six Party Talks — involving China, the U.S., Russia, the two Koreas, and Japan — were intended to end North Korea’s nuclear program via negotiations.
Chang explained that China could cut off oil and coal to pressure the Kim Jong Un regime to halt its missile program, which has been a source of tension in East Asia for over a decade. He pointed out though that Beijing has not taken such steps to adequately pressure its ally.
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Chang said that U.S. policy in working with Beijing to halt Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs has failed.
“At this point, what we have been trying to do with China just hasn’t been effective, so we need to try something different because Beijing has basically said that it will support the North Korean regime and it has been consistent in that for the course of decades,” Chang said.
“The real coercive penalties that we could impose are sanctions on Chinese banks that have been involved in North Korea’s illicit commerce, and we have not done that,” he said.
“Of course, that would shock the global financial system, but it would tell Beijing we are serious about protecting the American homeland, and we haven’t done that.”
But Chang said that there are risks in going in harder with North Korea; the regime could “lash out” and invade South Korea or send missiles toward the U.S.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said last month that his forces were not far from testing long-range missiles able to reach the U.S. mainland, and that they can carry nuclear warheads.
The rogue nation tested their fifth nuclear device last year.
Pyongyang is banned from conducting ballistic missile launches under U.N. Security Council resolutions that are partly intended at limiting the regime’s development of nuclear weapons, reports CNN.
North Korea’s firing of the missile on the weekend was condemned by U.S. President Donald Trump, who was hosting Japan’s leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for a summit meeting on Saturday (local time).
President Trump labeled the launch of the new type Pukguksong-2, a medium long-range ballistic missile, as “unacceptable.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
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