US worries Russia could step up North Korea support to fill China void


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley testifies to the House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee on the budget for the U.N. in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS Tue Jun 27, 2017 | 5:26pm EDT

As the United States pressures China to enforce United Nations sanctions on its ally North Korea, Washington is concerned that Russia could provide support to Pyongyang and fill any vacuum left by Beijing, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday.

“I’m concerned that Russia may backfill North Korea,” Haley told U.S. lawmakers in Washington. “We don’t have proof of that, but we are watching that carefully.”

While Washington has urged countries to downgrade ties with Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, a cross-border ferry service was launched in May between North Korea and neighboring Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the world should talk to, rather than threaten, North Korea.

“We just need to keep the pressure on China, we need to keep our eyes on Russia, and we need to continue to let the North Korea regime know we are not looking for regime change … we just want them to stop the nuclear activity,” Haley said.

The U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches. The government in Pyongyang is threatening a sixth nuclear test.

The Trump administration has been pressing China aggressively to rein in its reclusive neighbor, warning that all options are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development programs.

Beijing has repeatedly said its influence on North Korea is limited and that it is doing all it can, but U.S. President Donald Trump last week said China’s efforts had failed.

The United States has struggled to slow North Korea’s programs, which have become a security priority given Pyongyang’s vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

“The pressure on China can’t stop,” Haley said. “We have to have China doing what they’re supposed to. At the same time all other countries need to make sure they’re enforcing the sanctions that the Security Council has already put in place.”

Trump, increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues, is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing, senior administration officials told Reuters.

The United States also plans to place China on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, sources said, a step that could aggravate tensions with Beijing.

(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by G Crosse)

Source: Reuters “US worries Russia could step up North Korea support to fill China void”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Trump growing frustrated with China, weighs trade steps: officials


U.S. President Donald Trump (R) holds an umbrella over U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, former governor of Iowa, as they arrive together aboard Air Force One at Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Steve Holland | WASHINGTON Tue Jun 27, 2017 | 10:08pm EDT

President Donald Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues and is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing, three senior administration officials told Reuters.

The officials said Trump was looking at options including tariffs on steel imports, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross already has said he is considering as part of a national security study of the U.S. steel industry.

Whether Trump would take any steps against China remains unclear.

In April, he backed off from a threat to withdraw from NAFTA after he said Canadian and Mexican leaders telephoned him asking him to halt a planned executive order in favor of opening discussions.

The officials said there was no consensus on the way forward with China and they did not say what other options were being studied.

No decision was expected this week, a senior official said.

Chinese steel already is subject to dozens of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy orders. As a result it has only a small share of the U.S. market.

“What’s guiding this is he ran to protect American industry and American workers,” one of the U.S. officials said, referring to Trump’s 2016 election promise to take a hard line on trade with China.

On North Korea, Trump “feels like he gave China a chance to make a difference” but has not seen enough results, the official said.

The United States has pressed China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to help rein in its nuclear and missile programs. Beijing has repeatedly said its influence on North Korea is limited and that it is doing all it can.

“They did a little, not a lot,” the official said. “And if he’s not going to get what he needs on that, he needs to move ahead on his broader agenda on trade and on North Korea.”

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, spoke to dozens of reporters outside his residence on Wednesday and said the U.S. hopes to collaborate with China.

“We need to work together to deal with some of the pressing, difficult issues, such as the threat from North Korea. We want to work together to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

The death of American university student Otto Warmbier last week, after his release from 17 months of imprisonment in Pyongyang, has further complicated Trump’s approach to North Korea, his top national security challenge.

Trump signaled his disappointment with China’s efforts in a tweet last week: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”

Trump had made a grand gesture of his desire for warm ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he played host to Xi in April at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I think China will be stepping up,” Trump said at the time.

Since then, however, North Korea’s tests of long-range missiles have continued unabated and there have been reports Pyongyang is preparing for another underground nuclear test.

Trump dropped by last Thursday as White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner were meeting with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, an official said.

China’s inability to make headway on North Korea was one of the topics that was discussed, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Officials in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

Trump met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday at the White House and made a point of noting that the United States, India and Japan would be joining together in naval exercises soon in the Indian Ocean, a point that seemed aimed at India rival Beijing.

Trump also thanked India for joining the United States in imposing new sanctions against North Korea.

(Additional reporting by John Walcott in Washington and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Ross Colvin and Bill Trott)

Source: Reuters “Trump growing frustrated with China, weighs trade steps: officials”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Will North, South Korean Diplomats Meet on Sideline of OBOR Summit?


South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In speaks during a press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jung Yeon-Je/Pool

According to Reuters, Beijing has invited and North Korea has accepted China’s invitation to attend One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit and displeased the US as North Korean is not a country along the Silk Road.

Then, according to Reuters’ report “South Korea to attend China’s Silk Road summit amid diplomatic rift” yesterday, though upset by South Korea’s deployment of THAAD, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave South Korea a last-minute invitation to the OBOR summit. South Korea may be interested in the construction of and investment in OBOR infrastructure projects but will be a competitor to Chinese construction firms that have overcapacity to export. THAAD provides China good excuse not to invite South Korea.

Since the invitation was given after North Korea promised to send a delegation to the summit, there is naturally the speculation that China may arrange a meeting between North and South Korean diplomats on the sideline of the summit.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-southkorea-idUSKBN1880Z9


Exclusive: U.S. complains to China about North Korea’s attendance at Silk Road summit


People take pictures in front of a “Golden Bridge on Silk Road” installation, set up ahead of the Belt and Road Forum, outside the National Convention Centre in Beijing, China May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

By Ben Blanchard and John Ruwitch | BEIJING/SHANGHAI Fri May 12, 2017 | 12:10pm EDT

The United States warned China on Friday that North Korea’s attendance at a weekend summit on China’s new Silk Road could affect the participation of other countries, casting a shadow over what is Beijing’s biggest diplomatic event of 2017.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said the U.S. embassy in Beijing had submitted a diplomatic note to China’s foreign ministry, saying that inviting North Korea sent the wrong message at a time when the world was trying to pressure Pyongyang over its repeated missile and nuclear tests.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of working hours in China. The ministry said on Tuesday that North Korea would send a delegation to the summit but gave no other details.

Asked about the invitation to North Korea to attend, Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department’s East Asia Bureau, said the United States expected China to push its neighbor to return to “serious talks” on denuclearization.

“That includes taking steps to make clear to the (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un regime the political, economic, and diplomatic consequences of its reckless and unlawful actions.”

The United States did not think it would be appropriate for North Korea to play a prominent role at the Belt and Road Forum, according to one of the sources familiar with the U.S. concerns.

The United States will send a delegation led by White House adviser Matt Pottinger to the summit, China’s Foreign Ministry said earlier on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked China to put more pressure on North Korea, and has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s role in trying to rein in Pyongyang.

A source with knowledge of the note said that some Western countries could walk out of the specific session of the summit the North Koreans were attending if they were given too important a role, but that no decisions had been taken yet.

“This has generated a lot of concern,” the source said.

It was not immediately clear which sessions North Korea would attend. There are several sessions happening on Sunday afternoon, including on trade, finance and people-to-people exchanges. China has given few details about attendees.

North Korea’s chief delegate may also appear on stage in a group photo with other participants, said the same source, who is familiar with the planning for the summit.

China has not announced who that chief delegate will be, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Kim Yong Jae, North Korea’s minister of external economic relations, will lead the delegation.

CHINA SAYS SILK ROAD A WIN-WIN

Leaders from 29 countries will attend the forum in Beijing on May 14-15, an event orchestrated to promote Xi’s vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to push Chinese influence globally.

They are also concerned at the presence of leaders from countries with poor human rights records.

China has rejected criticism of the plan and the summit, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and is only about promoting prosperity.

Some of China’s most reliable allies and partners will attend the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

However, the only leader from a G7 nation to attend will be the Italian prime minister, according to China’s foreign ministry.

Despite Chinese anger at North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

China has over the years tried to coax North Korea into cautious, export-oriented economic reforms, rather than saber rattling and nuclear tests, but to little avail.

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING and David Brunnstrom in WASHINGTON; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: U.S. complains to China about North Korea’s attendance at Silk Road summit”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Asia weighs risk and reward in Trump ‘bromance’ with China’s Xi


FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

By Ben Blanchard and Philip Wen | BEIJING Fri Apr 28, 2017 | 12:44pm EDT

U.S. President Donald Trump’s warm words for Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as a “good man” will reassure Beijing that he finally understands the importance of good ties, but risks leaving America’s regional allies puzzling over where they fit into the new order.

The budding relationship between the two leaders appeared highly unlikely when Trump was lambasting China on the campaign trail for stealing U.S. jobs with unfair trade polices.

In December, after winning office, he upended protocol by taking a call from the president of self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as its own territory.

A few months on, after meeting Xi at his Florida residence earlier in April, Trump appears to have done a complete volte-face, praising Xi for trying hard to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea and rebuffing Taiwan’s president’s suggestion of another call.

But the big question is whether the rapprochement will last. Trump also expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign, but that relationship has since chilled.

Chinese officials will no doubt be pleased by Trump’s overtures, said Jia Qingguo, a leading academic who has advised the government on foreign policy.

“People will say that the only thing we know for sure about Donald Trump’s administration is uncertainty and unpredictability,” said Jia, dean of the School of International Studies at the elite Peking University.

“But judging from what he has been saying and doing, it’s quite reassuring as far as China is concerned. Certainly I think people have developed more positive views about the Donald Trump administration here and we have a lot of expectations that we can work together constructively.”

For China’s neighbors, it is a little more complicated.

On one level, a healthy relationship between the world’s two biggest economies suits everyone.

“It’s hugely positive that there’s been a reasonably constructive start to the bilateral dialogue between those two countries,” Tom Lembong, Indonesia’s investment chief and close aide to President Joko Widodo, told Reuters.

But long-time allies may also be wondering just how far Washington still has their back.

Shashank Joshi, senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said countries such as Japan and South Korea could lose influence if Trump’s focus on enlisting Xi’s help over North Korea creates a “sort of U.S.-China G2”.

“There are competing instincts within Trump pushing him in opposite directions,” said Joshi.

“His nationalism pushes him towards competition with China, but his deal-making instinct, his openness to personal influence, and his affinity for strongmen pushes him towards Xi, especially if he can show results on North Korea.”

But Trump, who has long touted his deal-making ability as a real estate developer, has also made clear his approach to China is transactional. He is so focused on securing cooperation against North Korea, his top national security priority, that he has even publicly promised to go easier on Beijing over critical trade issues in return.

Some of Trump’s aides doubt, however, that China will do enough to restrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmers. Some experts believe the thaw between the economic rivals could be fleeting if Xi fails to come through on the North Korean issue.

SOUTH CHINA SEA

Singapore-based security expert Ian Store said he believed Trump’s remarks would be closely scrutinized by Southeast Asian leaders looking for signs of an emerging Asia strategy.

“Most would welcome a calm, co-operative relationship between China and the U.S., but they will be deeply concerned at anything that looks like Trump will give Xi a free hand over the South China Sea dispute, or elsewhere,” said Storey, who is based at the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute.

The administration has so far sent out mixed rhetorical signals over the hotly disputed South China Sea. China’s extensive claims to the vital global trade route are challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.

The U.S. has increased naval deployments in the South China Sea in recent years amid roiling tensions and extensive island-building by China but, under Trump, its warships have yet to challenge China with a so-called freedom of navigation patrol close to disputed islets and reefs.

A Trump administration official has told Reuters the United States wants to avoid antagonizing China on sensitive issues like the South China Sea for now while waiting to see how far Beijing will go tightening the screws on North Korea. But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this did not mean abandoning efforts to counter China’s growing military and economic might in the Asia-Pacific region.

Admiral Harry Harris, the chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the U.S. Congress this week that he expected to be carrying out such patrols in the South China Sea soon, and repeated earlier concerns at China’s continued militarization of the area.

“Given Trump’s newfound friendship with Xi Jinping, it might make it significantly harder for the Pacific Command to get its plans approved for the next freedom of navigation patrols,” Storey said.

UNPREDICTABLE

In Japan, often at odds with China over what Beijing views as Tokyo’s failure to properly atone for World War Two, a Japanese government source sought to downplay any impact the burgeoning Trump-Xi friendship might have on Japan-U.S. ties.

“Trump’s softened approach to Xi may seem to be some kind of shift in the balance of power but security cooperation between Japan and the United States is extremely stable and has been confirmed in the face of the current crisis situation in North Korea,” the source told Reuters.

The tricky issue of Taiwan has not gone away either, and is one of several that could upset relations.

Democratic Taiwan has many friends in Washington who will not want to allow autocratic China to get its way with the island, and the United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.

Wang Dong, associate professor of international studies at Peking University, said China would remain on alert for another change of direction by Trump.

“There are reasons for optimism, but we are still being realistic. There are still issues out there, from Taiwan to the South China Sea,” he said.

One Beijing-based Western diplomat told Reuters that, while China might be pleased to see Trump hang ally South Korea out to dry with his criticism of their free trade deal and demand Seoul pay $1 billion to host a U.S. anti-missile system China has strongly opposed, China should not have any illusions.

“He’s so unpredictable who knows what he’ll say next week or next month?” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “His mood turns on a pin.”

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing; Linda Sieg in Toyko; Kanupriya Kapoor and Karen Lema in Manila; Sanjeev Miglani in New Delhi; Greg Torode in Hong Kong; Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry)

Source: Reuters “Asia weighs risk and reward in Trump ‘bromance’ with China’s Xi”

Note: This is Reuters’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Offers to Defend Kim Jong-un If He Gives Up His Nuclear Weapons


A Chinese warplane. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ryan Pickrell

April 13, 2017

China would be willing to offer the North Korean regime protection if it abandoned its nuclear weapons, a well-known Chinese paper reports.

North Korea’s primary reason for developing nuclear weapons is the preservation of the state and the regime through deterrence, yet the U.S. and its allies refuse to accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. Evidence suggests that North Korea may be preparing for another nuclear test this weekend.

(This first appeared in The Daily Caller here.)

“This path has no outlet … it doesn’t matter if North Korea tests a few more nuclear bombs or a few more missiles. It will not make any difference,” the Global Times, an outlet affiliated with the state-run People’s Daily, the paper of the ruling Communist Party, wrote Thursday. “Washington does not fear North Korea, and another nuclear test increases the likelihood that the U.S. will use military force.”

North Korea’s current course is not sustainable and is putting the survival of the regime in jeopardy. “If North Korea does not end its nuclear activities, this end is inevitable,” the newspaper explained, adding that even if the U.S. does not attack it, sanctions will eventually cripple the North Korean state.

“Pyongyang may assume that atomic bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles are the keys to ensuring national and political security, but this is wrong,” the Global Times argued, further commenting that the international community, China included, will not stand idly by while North Korea tests increasingly-powerful nuclear weapons.

“Beijing will not patiently allow Pyongyang to continue its nuclear activities. This is where the U.S. and China are in agreement,” the paper noted, “The difference is that Beijing insists on a peaceful solution that does not threaten the regime, while Washington may use force and take extreme measures.” In a separate article, the outlet reported that President Donald Trump, who recently bombed Syria for crossing the line with chemical weapons, is a man “who honors his promises” and may take military action against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Reports suggest that China’s People’s Liberation Army has been put on alert for a possible contingency on the peninsula as tensions rise.

“If North Korea complies with China’s advice and suspends nuclear activities, China will actively work to protect the security of a de-nuclearised North Korean nation and regime,” the Global Times wrote, adding that China is willing to build a positive future for both sides of the Yalu River.

In addition to warning North Korea against continued provocations, China also warned the U.S. against using military action. “Military force cannot resolve the issue,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing Thursday.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Source: National Interest “China Offers to Defend Kim Jong-un If He Gives Up His Nuclear Weapons”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China will get better U.S. trade deal if it solves North Korea problem: Trump


U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and China’s President Xi Jinping shake hands while walking at Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By David Lawder | WASHINGTON Tue Apr 11, 2017 | 2:24pm EDT

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had told China’s President Xi Jinping at a summit last week that Beijing would get a better trade deal with Washington if it helped solve the U.S. problem with North Korea.

“I explained to the president of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Trump, who held talks with Xi in Florida last week, wrote on Twitter.

“North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!” he added in a second note.

Persuading China to put pressure on its neighbor and ally North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development was a key objective for Trump in his first meeting with Xi.

The two leaders agreed to negotiate a 100-day plan aimed at bringing down China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, but the two sides offered few details.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, on Tuesday repeated China’s call for a return to dialogue with North Korea, and when asked about Trump linking a trade deal to China’s help with on North Korea, told Reuters:

“We need to look at the situation on the Korean Peninsula as something that we should work together on.”

Trump’s linkage of trade and North Korea drew criticism from Senator Charles Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, who has sided with Trump in the past on trade. He called on Trump to stick to his campaign vows to take tough action on Chinese trade abuses.

“I think what he’s saying is, if they are tough on North Korea, I’ll go easier on trade,” Schumer said told reporters. “Ask the American people if they like that deal. They won’t.”

A senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters China had suggested some areas where trade frictions could be reduced.

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“We are adding some additional items to that list,” the official said, while declining to give details.

Opening China to U.S. beef and U.S. services-sector investment are among the topics in the trade talks, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday.

China agreed last year to end a 13-year ban on U.S. beef, but purchases have yet to resume.

“An absolutely minimum starting point is for China to start honoring agreements it’s already committed to,” the U.S. official said.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick and David Alexander; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: Reuters “China will get better U.S. trade deal if it solves North Korea problem: Trump”