[Opinion] Ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week, US President Donald Trump has said in an interview that he is committed to solving the ‘North Korean problem’ with or without China’s help.
President Trump had been conducting an interview with the Financial Times when he made the statements surrounding North Korea and its nuclear programme, which has seen significant increases in the speed of its development.
“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you,” he said during the interview, adding that he was certain he could succeed alone.
He made no attempts to explain what he meant to do to combat the North Korean nuclear developments, refusing to say whether it would involve unilateral actions.
The interview was carried out ahead of a visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week.
China holds a very significant role in any actions against North Korea, as it is typically seen as the only nation capable of placing pressure on Pyongyang.
The North Korean government relies on China for almost all its imported goods, especially because of the large number of international sanctions against the isolated Communist nation.
However, even Beijing has been very critical of Pyongyang following its nuclear and missile testing earlier this year.
As such, there is clearly a major opportunity for President Trump and his administration to form a significant and powerful bond between the two nations, in relation to not just North Korea but also trade and business, when the two country leaders meet later this week.
However, as has been the case with much of his presidency so far, there are concerns over his administration and its rather provocative approach to foreign policy.
Suggestions that America could get involved against North Korea regardless of the support of China, especially at a time of moderate calm in the region currently, just seems like unnecessary provocation of a leader known to be very reactionary in Kim Jong-Un.
Even despite the current stage of development of North Korean missile technology meaning that it is not believed that they could strike the mainland United States directly, provoking the reclusive nation could still have significant issues.
Current missile capabilities from the country mean that it could strike as far as Japan, which has several US facilities stationed on it and is a key ally in the region to the country, or even directly strike US territory on the Pacific island of Guam.
Any direct action from the US forces stationed in South Korea would likely manage to overpower the North Korean forces but would ensure the deaths of thousands of Koreans in the South.
Even simply the actions of further sanctions against the country could risk retaliation from Kim Jong-Un, and wouldn’t make much of a difference against the country, which is already subjected to an expansive set of sanctions by the United Nations.
As such, the situation involving the Trump administration and any potential actions against North Korea are both deeply concerning and completely unclear.
One thing is certain though, under President Trump there is going to be a shift in US foreign policy that is far more prevocational than we have seen previously under the Obama administration.