Tags: china | north korea | terrorist state | trump | tillerson

What Do We Call China If North Korea Is a Terrorist State?

What Do We Call China If North Korea Is a Terrorist State?
A Chinese tour boat cruises on the Yalu River behind the Chinese flag flying on the Broken Bridge, in the border city of Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on September 5, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 14 December 2017 10:27 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In announcing that North Korea's "murderous regime" was being re-designated a terrorist regime on November 20, Trump has corrected yet another foreign policy blunder of previous administrations.

North Korea was on the terrorist blacklist until 2008, when the Bush administration dropped it from the list in a failed bid to entice Pyongyang to end is nuclear weapons program. Predictably, the ploy didn’t work.

Trump said the re-listing of North Korea as a terrorist state was long overdue, and indeed it was.

Obama averted his eyes for eight long years while the Kim dynasty assassinated dissidents and defectors, sold arms to Hamas and other Islamic terrorists, and maintained close ties to Iran and Syria, which are also blacklisted nations.

All the while — with the help of Chinese technology — North Korea feverishly built nukes and missiles to carry them.

It is unclear what new sanctions could be imposed on North Korea, which is already the subject of one of the toughest sanctions regimes in the world. Tough U.S. and U.N. sanctions call for other nations to restrict trade, foreign assistance, defense sales, and exports of sensitive technology to the rogue regime.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted that the designation was a "very symbolic move" with limited practical effects. He mentioned, without offering any specifics, that the designation might enable the U.S. to close a “few loopholes.”

The biggest such “loophole” is the China-North Korean border, which remains a bustling scene of cross-border trade. If Trump is serious about carrying out what he called a "maximum pressure campaign" on North Korea, then China has to be the focus.

After all, the only reason that North Korea has been able to develop nuclear weapons that could soon pose a direct threat to the U.S. mainland is because of the continued assistance it has received from China.

Despite promising to put pressure on Pyongyang, China has privately continued to aid the rogue regime in various ways. This is the primary reason why the six rounds of sanctions imposed by the UN against North Korea have been ineffective. In fact, a recent analysis by John Park of Harvard University and Jim Walsh of MIT concluded that, with China’s help, North Korea has actually improved its military procurement capability in recent years.

Moreover, as other countries stop trading with the rogue regime, China is picking up the slack. As Tillerson highlighted before the U.N. Security Council in April, fully nine-tenths of North Korea’s foreign trade is now with China, which has become Pyongyang’s chief lifeline to the wider world.

There is no doubt that Beijing could quickly cripple the North Korean economy by, for instance, closing the border. But China thus far has refused to use its ancient stratagem of “removing the firewood from under the pot” (Fu di chou xin), even though it knows it has the ability to eviscerate Kim Jong Un’s ability to wage war — or build advanced weaponry.

At the same time that some mouthpiece in Beijing is issuing a mild condemnation of Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, a steady stream of trucks and trains continue to rumble across the Dandong crossing into North Korea. These carry all manner of Chinese-made goods including, we now know, the transporter-erector-launcher trucks used to carry and launch Kim Jong Un’s long-range mobile missiles.

Some analysts believe that China may even have supplied North Korea with its JL-1 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), along with access to the military version of its GPS system, Beidou, to help improve the accuracy of this and other missiles.

Aside from openly trading with — and perhaps covertly aiding — its North Korean ally, China also helps it to buy time. Each time North Korea conducts a nuclear test or fires off a missile, Beijing counsels the U.S. that the only way to resolve the tension on the Korean Peninsula is to exercise strategic patience, enter into negotiations, and gradually build trust.

From the American point of view past negotiations with North Korea have accomplished nothing. From the Chinese point of view, however, they have accomplished precisely what they were intended to. They have bought North Korea the time — and over a billion dollars in American aid from the Clinton and Bush administrations — that it needed to build more missiles and more nukes, and to start learning how to pair them together.

The good news is that Washington finally seems to be getting it. After twenty years of trying to buy off the Pyongyang regime — which only whets the appetite of its rulers for the next round of extortion — we are at last putting pressure directly on its principal international backer: China.

The Trump administration seems to understand that the only way to effectively deal with North Korea’s serial deceit is to put pressure on China to reign in its unhinged client state.

Possible new sanctions steps could be to impose restrictions on Chinese banks that serve as North Korea's conduit to the international system. That would isolate Kim’s hermit kingdom economically in a way that nothing else would.

We are told that such a move would be counterproductive, because it would anger Beijing, whose help we need in order to put an economic squeeze on Pyongyang.

But this makes no sense. If Beijing were actually interested in squeezing Pyongyang, it would already have responded to U.S. concerns by ordering its state-owned banks not to do business with North Korea.

We hear a lot about not offending Beijing, but how about asking Beijing not to offend us?

Steven W. Mosher is one of America's leading experts on China. In 1979 he became the first American social scientist allowed to do research in the PRC, where he documented the massive human rights abuses of the Mao years, and personally witnessed the forcible abortion and sterilization of women under the newly announced "one-child policy." In the years since, he has written or edited a dozen books on China, including best sellers "A Mother's Ordeal" and "China Attacks" (with Chuck Devore). He helped to set up Radio Free China, and has testified before Congress on U.S.-China policy on numerous occasions. His latest book is called the "Bully of Asia: Why China's Dream is the New Threat to World Order." In a world bristling with dangers, only one enemy poses a truly mortal challenge to the United States and the peaceful and prosperous world that America guarantees. That enemy is China. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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In announcing that North Korea's "murderous regime" was being re-designated a terrorist regime on November 20, Trump has corrected yet another foreign policy blunder of previous administrations.
china, north korea, terrorist state, trump, tillerson
Thursday, 14 December 2017 10:27 AM
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