North Korea provocations hurt China-South Korea ties

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

After the surprise test launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on July 4, the threat of violent confrontation with North Korea could be very real.

Thermal images of North Korea's main nuclear facility reveal that Kim Jong-un may have produced more plutonium than previously thought in a bid to expand his stockpile of atomic weapons, according to United States researchers.

"The larger the U.S. military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets", a North Korean military spokesman said, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

It is therefore presumed that the USA will introduce secondary sanctions to boycott Chinese businesses and organizations trading with North Korea in response to China's non-cooperation.

A USA senator introduced legislation on Friday looking to prohibit any entities engaging with North Korea from the dollar system and to impose sanctions on businesses using North Korean labor.

"About one-third of North Koreans are naïve and believe that North Korea can defeat the USA with its nuclear and missile programs", he said.

President Trump shared his disappointment with China in a tweet on June 21, "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out". But how? Washington announced a $1 billion plus arms deal with Taiwan and sent a USA warship on a freedom of navigation/right of innocent passage voyage, passing within 12 miles of a Chinese island base in the South China Sea, eliciting strong protests from Beijing, but that's not almost enough to persuade the Chinese to take action to prevent what they themselves say is the risk of events spiraling out of control with catastrophic results that neither of us want. The alleged network included one of the largest Chinese importers of North Korean goods, Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co.

Tensions rose after North Korea's test this month of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland. The fact that China emphasized its alliance with North Korea just two days after North Korea's launch of a missile can be interpreted as an intention to reject further sanctions that could destabilize the North Korean regime. We should have a travel ban, and we're working on legislation right now.

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The United States, although wary of North Korea for several years, has had some trouble dealing with the dictatorship as either a tentative friend or a fierce enemy.

Officials say that for the time being the banks targeted are only going to be smaller ones, as well as some other private businesses the USA believes might be North Korean "shell companies".

It would also "block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the US financial system", including the top ten largest Chinese importers of North Korean goods.

President Trump: avoid unnecessary bloodshed if you can, but above all face down the North Koreans and eliminate the threat that they pose once and for all. China must realise that defensive mechanisms like the deployment of THAAD are due to North Korea's aggressive nuclear posture.

At the outset of the Korean War, President Truman remarked: "Korea is a small country, thousands of miles away, but what is happening there is important to every American".

What to do about North Korea? "For example, bilateral trade with China can be part of our response".

"Should the U.N. Security Council adopt another 'resolution on sanctions, ' this will trigger corresponding measures", KCNA cited the official as saying. Indeed, Trump and Xi have spoken on the phone on numerous occasions since that weekend meeting, discussing everything from the North Korea nuclear issue and global trade to the South China Sea and the inviolability of the One China policy that has governed Washington's behavior towards Beijing for about forty years.

Funding and labor for the base, which will eventually replace Yongsan as the main USA military base in South Korea, has been mostly provided by Seoul.

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