The Financial Times published an interview on Sunday, April 2, 2017, with President Donald Trump taking a firm line with North Korea and talking about trade with his upcoming meeting with China. Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the President of the People’s Republic of China, is due to visit with President Trump in Mar-a-Lago later in the week.
Ahead of the meeting, there has been some jockeying for position in the two governments. Economic tensions between the United States and China are growing, but the Trump administration is choosing to focus on China’s role as a leader in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Feng Chongyi, a highly respected professor who specializes in the repression of political dissent in China, was allowed to leave Guangzhou after a week of being questioned. Even though Feng was born in China, because of his educational background, he is sometimes considered a threat to China’s national security.
The clearing of Feng’s travel back to his home in Australia has analysts in Washington convinced that China is trying to remove any distractions from the issues that are close to heart for them.
Trump Speaks Candidly
When asked about his plans for North Korea, President Donald Trump was very candid in his confidence that the United States could handle them with or without China’s help.
“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
When asked how he would get China to step in, President Trump was quick to point out that trade has always been the main concern for China. He pointed out that China has a history of currency manipulation and devaluation, with the United States none the wiser.
“When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, they are world champions. And our country hasn’t had a clue, they haven’t had a clue. The past administration hasn’t had and many administrations — I don’t want to say only Obama; this has gone on for many years — they haven’t had a clue. But I do.”
Trump also spoke candidly about how he isn’t going to reveal anything that he doesn’t have to. His goal is to change how the world sees this administration. He disagrees with how the previous administrations would warn the world of where the United States was going to focus their efforts. President Trump points out that when action is called for, the time for talking is done.
While Trump still believes in alliances with other countries, his language indicates that he sees them as much more of a business proposition than previous administrations do. His choice of words, referring to things as “relationships” and “partnerships” is highly indicative of this.
The Future of North Korea
President Donald Trump’s national security aides have just finished a comprehensive briefing for the administration that is aimed at blunting the power of North Korea’s burgeoning missile and nuclear weapons programs. The report was sped up to be ready for this week’s summit with China so that President Trump would have all of the information he needs at his fingertips.
According to sources inside the White House as told to Reuters, the report was prepared by H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor. The report points out that the best approach to dealing with North Korea combines economic and military options combined with the goal of cutting North Korea off from global support. These economic sanctions would rely on China cutting North Korea off from the banks and firms in China that continue to do business with North Korea.
The report “de-emphasizes direct military action” in favor of these economic sanctions, especially considering North Korea’s recent steps to develop a missile that is capable of hitting the continental United States.
[Featured Image by AP Images, File]