President Trump is serious about forcing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
On Tuesday, the President announced that the United States would designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, which opens the door to more aggressive sanctions against the regime. The new round of sanctions will now target Chinese companies and banks that do business with North Korea.
This move by the Trump administration is a part of its “maximum pressure” initiative which is designed to compel North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. While previous presidents have tried appeasement and “strategic patience,” President Trump has opted for a more forceful approach.
President Trump announced that the Treasury Department would impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang and “related persons.” The administration hopes that preventing the rogue regime from gaining more funds will stymie their efforts in developing nuclear weapons that could strike the United States. President Trump stated that this “will be the highest level of sanctions by the time it’s finished over a two-week period.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed the efforts to apply pressure on North Korea, indicating that the sanctions seem to be working. He said intelligence suggests that the regime is dealing with fuel shortages, which has resulted in long lines at gas stations. Moreover, the nation’s revenues have decreased drastically.
Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow on Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, stated that the Treasury Department may target Chinese banks that provide North Korea with access to international trade. Naturally, the Chinese government would not be happy about this development, which means Mr. Trump might be playing a dangerous game.
The United States is counting on China to push Kim Jong-un to dismantle his nuclear weapons program.
Beijing has taken more steps to place economic pressure on Pyongyang than they have in the past, but they can still do more. China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade, which means they could almost singlehandedly destroy Pyongyang’s economy.
Secretary Tillerson has repeatedly stated that he still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the North Korea issue. Nevertheless, he recently gave a stern warning to Kim Jong-un: “This is only going to get worse until you’re ready to come and talk.”
Since President Trump took office, he has adopted a tougher approach to the North Korean regime. Kim Jong-un and President Trump have traded barbs and threats over the past few months while Pyongyang continued to conduct ballistic missile tests.
Kim Jong-un now faces new State Department designation and a new round of sanctions. Will this help with North Korea?
Critics have stated that Mr. Trump’s approach would not work. However, the weak policies of previous administrations have failed miserably. We have already seen that “strategic patience” and appeasement will only embolden the rogue regime.
It’s unclear whether or not President Trump’s gambit with Pyongyang will work, but the efforts of past administrations have proven ineffective. Perhaps standing up to the Kim regime will finally get them to give up on developing nuclear weapons.