By Rafal Malec
President Donald Trump has declared the United States would be willing to ‘’solve’’ the North Korean nuclear threat without any help from China.
In an interview for the Financial Times, Trump said his country would tackle the issue regardless of Chinese involvement.
‘’If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.’’
There are growing fears that Pyongyang could eventually develop and launch long-range nuclear missiles, capable of striking the mainland US.
The statements come ahead of a scheduled US visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.
Trump emphasized China should use its influence in North Korea to deescalate the growing tensions:
‘’China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.’’
The White House administration has repeatedly stated its concern over the North Korean nuclear threat, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visiting China last month to press the country for help in mitigating the situation.
During the talks Tillerson suggested pre-emptive military action was ‘’on the table.’’
It is generally thought that any military action against the North Korean regime would lead to very high military and civilian casualties.
China has not yet responded to Trump’s comments, but according to a statement released following Tillerson’s visit, China State Councillor Yang Jiechi said the meeting was of ‘’utmost importance in China-US relations’’, essential to ‘’promoting peace, stability and prosperity… for the whole world.’’
In an interview with ABC News Sunday, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said America should ‘’no longer take the excuse from China that ‘they’re not concerned.’ ‘’
‘’They need to show us how concerned they are… the only country that can stop North Korea is China, and they know that.’’
When asked to clarify if he believes the US could solve the problem without China, Trump said: ‘’totally.’’
The White House maintains China hasn’t applied enough pressure on North Korea, pointing to financial sanctions, which could be effective in dealing with the problem.
Beijing is North Korea’s only ‘real’ ally, and agreements between the two countries account for 70% of Pyongyang’s trade.
The UN, as well as several nations, already have sanctions against the dictatorship in place, targeting its weapons programme and financial ability to function abroad.
However, these measures do not appear to be slowing down North Korea’s militarisation, as well as Kim Jong Un’s growing ambitions.
Analysts suggest Beijing maintains its support for Pyongyang, fearing a collapse of the North Korean regime could lead to Korean unification, which in turn could lead to US troops being stationed in a country sharing a land border with China.