Tags: North Korea | william cohen | north korea | preemptive strike | china

Cohen: Stop Short of Provoking North Korea Into Preemptive Strike

Image: Cohen: Stop Short of Provoking North Korea Into Preemptive Strike
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

By    |   Monday, 17 Apr 2017 07:58 AM

The Trump administration's approach to North Korea has been correct so far, but care still needs to be taken to keep from provoking President Kim Jong Un into taking preemptive action and 'killing as many as 10 or 20 million people," former Defense Secretary William Cohen said Monday.

"We've placed a very significant force off the coast of the [Korean] peninsula," Cohen, who served under President Bill Clinton, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "We're sending a very strong message."

Meanwhile, the Chinese have long understood the nature of the problem, but now President Donald Trump is forcing a decision that China looks to South Korea, not North Korea, as an ally and as its largest trading policy, said Cohen.

"China will only benefit from having a productive, energetic, united peninsula that's doing business with China, and where there are no U.S. troops," he concluded.

"North Korea is a liability; South Korea is an asset," Cohen said. "There are ways we could forsee having a unified peninsula without a military presence on the part of the United States. That would be the ultimate goal that would not threaten the Chinese and would certainly stabilize the region for all concerned."

Ultimately, China could shut off the "flow of money, support, and food into North Korea," and that's what the United States wants to happen if North Korea doesn't comply with standing down over its missile system, Cohen said.

"If China were to shut down a good portion of that, there's no way the North Korean regime can survive," Cohen said. "The question, how quickly would they do that? In a very slow, methodical way, to let the North Korean leader know you're going to be finished. There will be a regime change under these circumstances because your people will continue to suffer."

China has not taken a harder line, Cohen said, because it does not want the Korean peninsula to be unified, and it does not want a South Korean-dominated, capitalist system at its border, but it could still agree to be a "protector of the north."

"They could extend their nuclear umbrella to include the North," Cohen said. "There are many ways to handle this but they haven't wanted to do it yet. They haven't been forced to."

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The Trump administration's approach to North Korea has been correct so far, but care still needs to be taken to keep from provoking President Kim Jong Un into taking preemptive action and 'killing as many as 10 or 20 million people," former Defense Secretary William Cohen...
william cohen, north korea, preemptive strike, china
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2017-58-17
Monday, 17 Apr 2017 07:58 AM
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