Is China Attempting to Torpedo the Kim-Trump Summit?

May 30, 2018 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Skeptics Tags: North KoreaKim Jong UnDonald TrumpNuclearWarChina

Is China Attempting to Torpedo the Kim-Trump Summit?

Chinese academic and popular sentiments long ago turned against the North.

Was the latest Kim-Xi pirouette good for America? Of course not. But China, no less than America, can be expected to defend its interests. Instead of fulminating about Sino perfidy, Washington should engage the PRC over its perceived interests. For instance, a U.S. promise to withdraw troops and a South Korean pledge of military neutrality could moderate Chinese concerns over a westward North Korean move and even South Korea-dominated reunification.

Washington should keep its eye on the prize: eliminating North Korean nuclear weapons. Doing so is still a long-shot. Moreover, it would be surprising if an objective so dear was not expensive to acquire. Which means the United States should be willing to sacrifice subsidiary interests along the way.

North Korea always has been an independent actor, determined to resist control even by its nominal friends. That hasn’t changed as Pyongyang has pushed forward toward a summit with President Trump. Just as Kim has engaged Beijing, so should America. President Trump just should be prepared to pay the necessary price for the PRC’s aid.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to South Korean President Moon Jae-in as they bid farewell after their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House on May 26, 2018. Picture taken on May 26, 2018. The Presidential Blue House /Handout via REUTERS