How long before U.S. patience on North Korea runs out? - China’s latest political and current affairs news - SupChina
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How long before U.S. patience on North Korea runs out? – China’s latest political and current affairs news


“Trump hasn’t yet concluded that he needs to take extreme measures against China,” Axios reported on September 17, but that sure seems like the way things are headed. Take into consideration:

  • Top diplomats, as well as the presidents of both sides have signalled that they are essentially in a holding pattern while the recent sanctions go into effect. Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State, said to CBS that America is “leaving it in China’s hands at this point,” and that he is “waiting for the regime of North Korea to give us some indication that they’re prepared to have constructive, productive talks.” Cui Tiankai 崔天凯, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, emphasized that China would implement the sanctions, “no more, no less,” Bloomberg reports. Trump and Xi then verbally confirmed this status quo in a phone call in which they agreed to pressure North Korea via enforcement of sanctions, according to SCMP.
  • China has likely applied the maximum amount of pressure on North Korea it is comfortable with, but both sides remain unsatisfied with the other side’s supposed obstinance. American officials think that China hasn’t sacrificed enough with sanctions, and Chinese officials want the U.S. to start negotiations with North Korea. Barring a change in sanctions — either spotty implementation or significant strengthening — or change in North Korean behavior, the next move is likely U.S. financial sanctions and tariffs targeting Chinese banks and businesses that are connected to North Korea.
  • China knows it is a likely target of the U.S., and is guarding against such attacks. The foreign ministry again commented that China “does not hold the key to resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue” and said, “it is irresponsible and unhelpful for the settlement of the issue to unjustly blame others.” Cui Tiankai, meanwhile, added that “slapping sanctions on China, I think would be off-target.”

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.