Expert: ‘Duplicitous’ China Hasn’t ‘Nearly Done Enough’ to Curb North Korea

Chang says time for Trump to pivot, 'impose severe costs' on Beijing for relationship with Pyongyang

Columnist and author Gordon Chang said the Chinese have been “playing a duplicitous game” and “have not nearly done enough” in helping the U.S. deal with the rising threat North Korea poses, during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Chang, a Daily Beast columnist and author of the book, “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World,” noted that the Monday death of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier following his imprisonment in North Korea “reminds us of the horrific nature of the regime.”

“We try to treat North Korea as just another country. No, it’s not. It’s very, very different, and it’s got an enabler that has weaponized North Korea to be used against us,” Chang said. “So we’ve got to understand the situation that we are in.”

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Chang noted that since Trump’s April meeting at Mar-a-Lago with Xi Jinping, reporting from Japanese newspapers has indicated that China “leaned on the North Koreans not to conduct their sixth nuclear test.” The Chinese were also “rattled” by Trump’s missile strike in Syria.

“I think that might be true, but we’ve also seen that the North Koreans have launched missiles at an accelerated pace during this time,” Chang said. “And so, the point is that the Chinese have not nearly done enough.”

“We also know that the Chinese have said that they are not buying [North Korean] coal in order to comply with U.N. sanctions. But after that February 18th announcement by Beijing … the Chinese have been buying North Korean coal,” Chang added.

“In addition they have been buying other minerals that have been banned by the U.N. Security Council,” he said. “So we can say that the Chinese have been playing a duplicitous game, and it’s probably time for President Trump to make a pivot of his own and impose severe costs on the Chinese for supporting the North Korean regime.”

In order to impose effective pressure on China to deal accordingly with North Korea, Chang insisted that “all we have to do is just to enforce U.S. law.”

“We know the Chinese banks have been money laundering for the North Koreans. So under U.S. law, we can deny those Chinese institutions the right to transact in dollars in New York. And that would put them out of business,” Chang said, noting that the Chinese have also been supplying North Korea with other materials and equipment.

“We can go after the Chinese stake for doing this. This is just an act of political will on our part,” Chang said. “We have a lot of leverage over the Chinese at this point. It’s a just a matter of us deciding that it’s time to use it.”

There is considerable leverage, Chang said, observing that the Chinese economy is based on selling products to the U.S. Past U.S. administrations have shown an unwillingness to utilize this leverage to the detriment of the security situation in East Asia, Chang argued.

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“In the past … we have always tried to be cooperative with the Chinese to extend the hand of friendship, to give them concessions beforehand in the hope that they would reciprocate. But that policy didn’t work during the Bush administration with regard to North Korea, didn’t work in the Obama administration either,” Chang said. “And so I think what we’re going to have to do is impose those costs. Because when we do that, we give the Chinese an incentive for the first time in decades to actually help us on North Korea.”

As for the Trump critics who argue that the world has become a much more dangerous place under the president’s new administration, Chang said that “the world did not become instantly dangerous at noon on January 20th of this year.”

“It took a lot of misguided policy — not only in the Obama administration, but in the Bush administration as well,” Chang said. “We have not been willing to use instruments of American power in order to obtain objectives — not only for the United States, but for the international community.”

“We have allowed China to do things that are completely unacceptable,” Chang concluded. “And we’ve … allowed the Russians to do so as well.”