Asking China to ‘Fix’ North Korea Is a Waste of Time

by John R. Bolton
July 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Source: Asking China to ‘Fix’ North Korea Is a Waste of Time

American and South Korean officials have said for over a year that North Korea would be able, within a very short time, to miniaturize a nuclear device, mount it on an intercontinental ballistic missile and hit the continental United States. The country’s test launch Tuesday didn’t conclusively demonstrate that Pyongyang has reached this point, but Alaska and Hawaii might already be within range — and US forces in South Korea and Japan certainly are.

This isn’t the first time the North has marked the Fourth with fireworks. On July 4, 2006, a North Korean short-range missile barrage broke a seven-year moratorium, stemming from a 1998 Taepo-Dong missile launch that landed in the Pacific east of Japan. Tokyo responded angrily, leading Pyongyang to declare the moratorium (though it continued static-rocket testing), ironically gaining a propaganda victory.

In addition, the North substantially increased ballistic-missile cooperation with Iran, begun earlier in the decade, a logical choice since both countries were relying upon the same Soviet-era Scud missile technology, and because their missile objectives were the same: acquiring delivery capabilities for nuclear warheads.

This longstanding cooperation on delivery systems, almost certainly mirrored in comparable cooperation on nuclear weapons, is one reason North Korea threatens not only the United States and East Asia, but the entire world. In strategic terms, this threat is already here. Unfortunately, we should have realized its seriousness decades ago to prevent it from maturing.

A South Korean navy ship fires a missile during a drill aimed to counter North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test, on July 6, 2017 in East Sea, South Korea. (Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)

It’s clear that nearly 25 years of diplomatic efforts, even when accompanied by economic sanctions, have failed. President Trump seemed to continue the “carrots and sticks” approach, first with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and more recently during South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Washington visit.

As he has said subsequently, however, we must shift to a more productive approach. China has been playing the United States while doing next to nothing to reverse the North’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs. Indeed, there’s every reason to believe Beijing has at best turned a blind eye to willful violations of international sanctions and its own commitments, allowing Chinese enterprises and individuals to enable Pyongyang.

In response, many contend we should impose economic sanctions against China, pressuring it to pressure North Korea. While superficially attractive, this policy will inevitably fail.

Because, however, the failure will take time to become evident, sanctioning China will simply buy still more time for Pyongyang to advance its programs.

China’s economy is so large that targeted sanctions against named individuals and institutions can have only minimal consequences. They will also suffer the common fate of such sanctions, being very easily evaded by establishing “cut outs” carrying on precisely the same activities under new names.

Plus, China’s decades of mixed signals about the DPRK reflect its uncertainty about exactly what to do with the North. Sanctioning China might only strengthen the hand of Beijing’s pro-Pyongyang faction, obviously the opposite of the result we seek.

Instead, Washington should keep its focus on the real problem: North Korea. China must be made to understand that, unless the threat is eliminated by reunifying the Peninsula, the US will do whatever is necessary to protect innocent American civilians from the threat of nuclear blackmail.

In the end, this unquestionably implies the use of military force, despite the risks of broader conflict on the Korean Peninsula, enormous dangers to civilians there and the threat of massive refugee flows from the North into China and South Korea. They can work with us or face the inevitable consequences, which will be far more damaging to China than pinprick sanctions.

These are very unhappy alternatives. But the lesson of the past 25 years is that pursuing diplomacy in the face of overwhelming evidence that diplomacy could not succeed has brought us to this point. We can either accept that reality now, or be forced to accept it later, with potentially much more painful results.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad”.

This article first appeared in the New York Post and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.


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10 Comments on “Asking China to ‘Fix’ North Korea Is a Waste of Time”

  1. joopklepzeiker Says:

    Typical USA political thinking Chicago style !

    You do what we ask you to do , otherwise will force you to do it , and in the mean time we keep kicking your ass .

    And LS with RESPECT of course !

    • Wrong post? Anywho, no disrespect taken. I will, however, add that this is not typical behavior of the USA. It’s more typical of the democrat leftists who promote social warfare, endless bogus environmental issues, and a need to put government before all else. And if you don’t comply, they will destroy you, i.e. CNN.

      I need to finish eating and go to work now. My alligator stew is getting cold.

      • joopklepzeiker Says:

        Left LS ?????????

        John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican administrations. Bolton served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 as a recess appointee by President George W. Bush.[1] He resigned in December 2006, when the recess appointment would have otherwise ended,[2][3] because he was unlikely to win confirmation from the Senate in which a newly elected Democratic Party majority would be taking control in January 2007.[4][5]

        Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI),[6] senior advisor for Freedom Capital Investment Management,[7] a Fox News Channel commentator, and of counsel to the Washington, D.C. law firm Kirkland & Ellis.[8] He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[9] Bolton is also involved with a number of politically conservative think tanks and policy institutes, including the Institute of East-West Dynamics, the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Council for National Policy (CNP) and the Gatestone Institute,[10] where he serves as the organization Chairman.

        Bolton has been labeled as a neoconservative,[11] though he personally rejects the term.[12] He has been a prominent participant in several neoconservative groups, like the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG).

        But this thinking is on all side,s of the USA political arena , can we lock them up in a Rome theater and let them fight it out? a lot less harmful !
        Can we sell tickets and with the ticket revenue build some mew bridges an infra structure getting USA moving again , or a wall, but only with solar on top .

        • Bolton? I thought you were talking about Chicago. Too much coffee this morning?

          • joopklepzeiker Says:

            clearly you did not had enough coffee , try to keep up , the article is written by Bolton !

          • Bolton’s comments are pretty much what Trump is doing regarding China and the Norks, IMHO of course. By the way, isn’t it amazing how one can google just about anything to make a point?


            What about North Korea, a hated regime for sure but one that the U.S. has always tried to contain rather than destroy? During his CPAC address, Bolton said that the only way to solve the North Korean problem for good is to change the government in Pyongyang and reunite the Korean Peninsula under Seoul’s leadership. While he may ultimately be correct on this point, the cost in American blood and treasure to achieve that goal doesn’t seem to be of particular concern to the former diplomat. Bolton may think that China can and should take care of the problem for us, but anticipating such an action would be a fantastical illusion; for a man who professes to know the world, Bolton fails to grasp that Beijing, like Washington, has a set of core interests that it aims to protect. Removing Kim Jong-un and thereby destabilizing a nuclear North Korea, with all of the refugees that would pour across the North Korea-China border as a result, definitely isn’t one of them.

            Donald Trump is president, so he has the privilege to take counsel from anyone he would like. Bolton’s appearance at CPAC was a reaffirmation of why he was not chosen.

            Source: The American Conservative website.

          • joopklepzeiker Says:

            old fashioned Chicago style .

      • joopklepzeiker Says:

        Still working LS, i thought you was retired .

        A may o may , you do not eat alligator stew as breakfast but hot boudin with grits and some Pain perdu

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