North Korea continues testing its weapons capabilities to the increasing concern of countries across the world, and there seems to be little that can be done to stop them.
President Trump has tried direct threats to diplomacy, and on Sunday, he suggested a new tactic. On his Twitter feed, Trump suggested economic warfare against North Korea’s allies to convince them to turn on the rogue dictator. “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”
According to Fox News, Trump’s threat of ending trade came in response to Kim Jong-un’s claim that North Korea had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb underground. The bomb, according to experts, is more powerful than any of the previous bombs North Korea has tested and may have caused a 5.7 earthquake in the area.
The bomb detonation led to an emergency meeting between US, Japan, France, UK and South Korea on potential actions to be taken in light of the new threat.
The same day Trump dropped his trade bomb, General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, stated the military will be prepared to respond to any threats issued to the US and allies by North Korea. “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”
Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, is acting as the leader for economic warfare, stating on Sunday, “I will submit new sanctions for [President Trump’s] strong consideration. There’s so much more we can do economically.”
One thing Mnuchin says he suggested to the President is pressuring North Korea’s allies to cut off economic ties with the hostile nation. “I did speak with the president. It’s clear this behavior is unacceptable… I will draft a sanctions bill and send it to the president. We will work with our allies. We will work with China. But people need to cut off North Korea economically.”
According to Politico, Geng Shuang, foreign ministry spokesman for China, says the threat of trade cuts is “unfair” considering the work China has put in so far. “What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue and on the other hand our interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardized.”
Geng continues saying that undue pressure has been mounting on China to handle North Korea by themselves. “We keep stressing that we cannot solely rely on China to resolve this issue. We need all parties to work in the same direction.”
China has been very cryptic in their approach to North Korea and their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Do you think China has been honest with the US on the subject of North Korea?
In addition to his frustrations with China, Trump has also placed some of the blame on South Korea for not taking a more firm stance on North Korea. In a tweet he sent out Sunday, he criticized South Korea. “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”
Considering North Korea hasn’t shown any signs of halting their nuclear arms testing and is steadily ramping up their hostilities, it’s understandable that Trump is seeking any means possible to slow their efforts. Hopefully using economics as a weapon will be enough to end the matter peacefully before the US and its allies are forced to pursue more aggressive means to stop Kim Jong-un.