As President Trump continues his first tour across Asia, he has had successful meetings with foreign leaders and constructive discussions for dealing with the aggressive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And he may have found the best solution yet.
As Reuters reported, President Trump believes China may be the key to dealing with North Korea. He said, “China can fix this problem quickly and easily,” and urged China to use its trading relationship to pressure North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.
China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner and supplies all of North Korea’s oil, and 90 percent of all the dictatorship’s trade. If China tightens sanctions on North Korea, their trading relationship could be crippled, and North Korea could be forced to give up their weapons of mass destruction.
General Petraeus said, “It’s up to China. Ninety percent of the trade to and from North Korea goes through China. The sanctions, if they’re implemented fully, will certainly reduce that. It will tighten down on the umbilical cord that literally keeps the lights on in Pyongyang.”
However, China has a difficult line to walk with North Korea. If China applies to much pressure to the dictatorship, it could collapse. Petraeus said, “This is challenging. They want to bring Kim Jong-un to his senses, but not to his knees.”
President Trump recently praised the Chinese leader, saying, “China can fix this problem easily and quickly and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard…If he works on it hard, it will happen, there’s no doubt about it.”
President Xi said, “We are devoted to reaching a resolution to the Korean peninsula issue through dialogue and consultations.” President Trump referred to Xi as “a strong man” and expressed confidence that Xi could solve the issue with North Korea.
President Trump had just given a speech in Seoul, South Korea, where he described the horrors of the North Korean regime, calling the dictatorship a cult. “North Korea is a country ruled as a cult,” President Trump said. “At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent-protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.”
He also encouraged the North Korean leader to “do the right thing, not only for North Korea but for humanity all over the world.” He further addressed Kim directly, stating that negotiations were still possible. “Despite every crime you have committed against God and man…we will offer a path to a much better future.”
However, President Trump noted that this path must include “complete and verifiable denuclearization.”
A vocal opponent of President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) admitted, “It was a clear, concise, and forceful message which has been missing for the last twenty-five years. Well done, Mr. President.” Others have similarly praised President Trump’s speeches.
President Trump has made it clear that peaceful negotiation with North Korea is the goal, but the United States is prepared with a military response if necessary. “We will not be intimidated. And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here on the ground we fought and died so hard to secure,” he said.
While North Korea has denounced President Trump’s words, they should take note that negotiation is the only option for peace. If they don’t cease their aggression and nuclear program soon, they could find themselves at the devastating end of US military force.