China Agrees To Do More To Curb North Korea As US Planning Options Are Leaked
The first part of the story is pretty straightforward. The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, signed onto a statement today in which China agreed that North Korea needed to be curbed and China agreed to help.
In an off-camera briefing with reporters on the second and final day of President Trump’s summit with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson said the two leaders recognized the imminent threat North Korea poses and agreed to respond accordingly.
“The two sides noted the urgency of the threat of North Korea’s weapons program, reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and committed to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Tillerson said, adding that the conversation was “wide-ranging [and] very comprehensive.”
“I think President Xi, from their part, shared the view that this has reached a very serious stage in terms of the advancement of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities,” he continued.
Trump and Xi agreed on the need to work with other foreign powers to convince North Korea “to peacefully resolve the issue and abandon its illicit weapons programs.”
The most significant part is probably the joint characterization of North Korea’s nuclear program as illicit. What does this mean? It probably means that China is going to distance itself a bit from North Korea but probably not in ways we will either notice or appreciate. China probably isn’t all that fond of a nuclear North Korea because it is convincing the South Koreans they need nukes, too. But China is also sort of captured. It wants a buffer state between its border and South Korea because, by comparison to North Korea, living in a sh**hole in rural China looks a lot like heaven. South Korea? Not so much. China also doesn’t want a political meltdown in the DPRK because the refugees stream will head north to China, not across the trenches, minefields, and barbed wire of the DMZ.