January 2nd of 2017 brought a great article to theguardian entitled Trump says US safe from North Korean nuclear strike – no thanks to China. Author Joseph McCurry focuses on Trump’s reaction to the fact that North Korea is very close to launching and testing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (IBM) that could reach American mainlands. North Korea has already tested 3 nuclear weapons under Kim’s rule alone, the IMB would not be something new.
Yes, Trump states that he is going to keep America safe, however he has failed to mention a clear plan to addressing the issue.
So far Obama’s plan has been to isolate Korea. At a summit in Laos on September 6, 2016, Obama mentioned that “North Korea understands its provocations will only continue to deepen its isolation.” The plan isn’t working too well. So far, the most recent UN sanctions have only created an export ban on North Korea coal. Even this sanction is not working according to Stephan Haggard, a Korea expert at the University of California, San Diego who says that the loophole to the sanction, where North Korea can export the coal for humanitarian purposes is being overused. Maybe Donald’s plan will work.
Oh wait, what plan?
As of right now, Donald seems to be putting the entire blame on China saying that China should be punishing North Korea for/from testing nuclear weapons or working on developing an IBM. The thing is that China prefers to have North Korea be communist-ruled and nuclear-armed rather than have North Korea collapse. This would create a unified Korean Peninsula under American control and force millions of unwanted Korean refugees into China. As of right now, China is controlling North Korea by providing enough oil to keep the economy afloat.
If Donald Trump truly wants China to start helping out with keeping North Korea under control, he will most likely remove the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system that is currently in South Korea as supplied by the United States. THAAD was a result of the Obama administration taking the North Korean threat into America’s own hands. However, it has resulted in Chinese Leadership to favor North Korea even more given that THAAD was against Chinese wishes. Removing THAAD might be one of the first acts of foreign diplomacy that Donald takes to make sure China takes more responsibility for the whole situation.