President Donald Trump warned Sunday that if China doesn’t rein in North Korea, the U.S. will go it alone and do whatever it feels necessary to address the growing North Korean nuclear threat.
Trump plans to push China to put greater pressure on North Korea during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, but if Xi refuses, the U.S. will go its own way.
“China has great influence over North Korea. China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” the president told the Financial Times, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
The White House perceives North Korea as the most pressing threat to the U.S. and its allies.
Since Trump took office, North Korea has carried out multiple provocations. The North has tested a new type of ballistic missile — a solid-fueled, road-mobile, mid-range missile, fired off four ballistic missiles in a rehearsal for a strike on U.S. bases in Japan, tested multiple high-thrust rocket engines, and tested an unidentified missile.
Furthermore, a recent flurry of activity around Punggye-ri suggests the North may be preparing for another nuclear test in the near future.
North Korea’s weapons program is developing at an accelerated pace. “There is a real possibility that North Korea will be able to hit the U.S. with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the first Trump term,” K.T. McFarland, the deputy White House national security adviser, remarked in a previous interview with the Financial Times.
The National Security Council has reportedly completed a review of North Korea policy options, and Trump asserts that it is “totally” possible for the U.S. to deal with North Korea without China. U.S. responses could range from tougher sanctions, including secondary sanctions, to more aggressive actions, such as the use of military force.