Earlier this week, U.S. president Donald Trump had to admit that his plan to bend North Korea to the will of the international community had failed. As reported by the Inquisitr, Trump had made much of convincing China’s president, Xi Jinping, to send a mission to North Korea to convince Kim Jong-un to halt his nuclear weapons program. Trump was forced to admit that the Chinese delegation had failed when “little rocket man” refused to meet with the Chinese envoy.
Rather than accede to Trump’s demands, North Korea responded by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that it boasts could be used to attack any city on the U.S. mainland. North Korea’s refusal to respond to President Trump’s calls for disarmament leave many wondering if we are close to seeing Trump launch a military solution to the conflict. It seems that Trump’s national security chief, General H.R. McMaster, has few doubts that this conflict could lead to war between the U.S. and North Korea.
As reported by the BBC, McMaster was speaking to the Reagan National Defense Forum in California when he said that the threat of war with North Korea grows closer every day.
“The greatest immediate threat to the United States and to the world is the threat posed by the rogue regime in North Korea.
“[The threat] is increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem.”
McMaster reiterated that President Trump remains committed to the “total denuclearization” of North Korea, but he did hold out hope that the crisis could still be solved without resorting to military action. McMaster called on China to redouble its efforts to bring North Korea to heel through the use of sanctions. As reported by CNN, McMaster claimed that it is in China’s urgent interest “to do more” to solve the North Korea crisis.
McMaster went on to say that both he and President Trump believed that a total embargo on oil imports into North Korea was necessary. McMaster added that “you can’t shoot a missile without fuel.”
The sanctions already in place against North Korea are already strict, but they do rely on China enforcing those sanctions. Around 90 percent of North Korea’s trade goes through China, so if China does not enforce sanctions, they are next to useless. The problem that faces the Trump administration is that China’s interests in North Korea are very different to Donald Trump’s.
China is North Korea’s major trading partner and only real ally. China is not being threatened by the North Korean regime, and China favors a “freeze for freeze” agreement between the U.S. and North Korea. Such an agreement would see North Korea freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the U.S. pulling back its buildup of military assets in the region.
Donald Trump argues that North Korea would not honor any such agreement and that it would be a total waste of time. With Trump and Kim Jong-un constantly at loggerheads, and with neither willing to take a backward step, it is small wonder that McMaster sees the specter of war drawing closer every day.