U.S. President Donald J. Trump will visit Asia from November 3 to 14 and is expected to pressure President Xi Jinping of China to honour his commitment to impose heavy economic sanctions on North Korea.
China accounts for up to 90% of North Korea’s trading activity. Trump hopes that increased economic pressure from its biggest trading partner will eventually wear down Pyongyang and discourage the regime from pursuing its aggressive nuclear arms program.
Trump wants to make sure Xi will fully implement the resolutions drafted by the U.N. Security Council imposing sanctions on Pyongyang for its repeated testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles including a reported hydrogen bomb last September.
China has expressed its commitment to enforce the list of sanctions which include banning imports of coal, textiles, seafood and shipments of oil to North Korea.
While China appears to disapprove of North Korea’s repeated testing of weapons and have demanded the regime to desist, Beijing also believes the United States and South Korea are partly to blame for Pyongyang’s abrasive behaviour.
Specifically, China points to the joint military drills the nations have conducted in the Korean Peninsula. South Korea, Japan and the United States commenced a 2-day missile tracking drill last October 17 in anticipation of any attack coming from North Korea.
A senior White House official shares his opinion that China should do more to comply with the U.N resolutions that were unanimously approved by member countries:
“We would like to see China follow through on those commitments. We would like to see China do things bilaterally as well that may even go beyond things that are mandated by those U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
Chinese diplomats maintain China has been doing all it can to rein in North Korea but that the United States has overestimated its influence over supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Although Beijing has acted on some of the economic sanctions, it has not agreed on demand from the U.S. for a fuel embargo.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera believes the situation with North Korea has reached a “critical and imminent level” and that the United States, Japan and South Korea must join forces to address the matter.
Despite rhetoric that he wants to “totally destroy” North Korea, the Senior White House official has stated President Trump is looking for a peaceful resolution to the situation with Pyongyang.
Reports have been circulating that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was offered the position as special U.S. envoy to North Korea but the White House has not confirmed this.