Washington is sending a warning to Pyongyang for threatening to resume nuclear and missile tests and applying more pressure on China at the same time. U.S. high-ranking diplomats and security officials aimed at China to stress the importance of implementing U.N. sanctions against North Korea and national security adviser John Bolton urged China to “do more” for denuclearization of North Korea.
In his interview with the AM 970 radio station in New York on Sunday (local time), Bolton highlighted China’s role by saying that China could put more pressure on North Korea by applying the U.N. sanctions more tightly.
“The Chinese have said repeatedly they don’t want to see North Korea with nuclear weapons at all because they think it destabilizes North East Asia,” said Bolton. “In theory, China has the same position we do.” But he raised his guard against China’s building up of nuclear capability. “China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States.” This is in line with the U.S.’ proposal for Russia, and China to enter into a new arms control treaty after its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
The U.S. did not mention China’s influence or role on North Korea when it was in discussion with North Korea around the Hanoi summit. But as tensions rose after the collapse of the summit, it has started to play the “China card” once again to apply pressure on both North Korea and China.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week met with UN Secretary-General UN Secretary-General António Guterres and President Trump's special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun traveled to New York to meet with U.N. Security Council members, which is seen as moves to keep China and Russia in check. Because if North Korea carries out another missile test, disguising it as a satellite, the U.S., China, and Russia will be pitted against one another at the UN. China has a precedent of opposing the idea of slapping additional sanctions on North Korea when the North launched Kwangmyongsong-3 right after the missile-testing moratorium North Korea had agreed on February 29, 2012.
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