Monday, April 9, 2018

Meanwhile Back in North Korea

We should take the news with a grain of skepticism, but China appears to be cooperating with the sanctions regime against its ally North Korea. The Wall Street Journal reported on this story before, so today it’s the Daily Caller’s turn to bring us up to date. Since this story appears to suggest that Trump’s policy is working, the media is scrupulously ignoring it.

The story: China has been squeezing the Kim Jong-un regime by cutting off its economic lifelines:

Beijing appears to be on board with President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure strategy, or at least it was in the first two months of this year as bilateral trade between China and North Korea dropped significantly.

China reduced its imports from North Korea by 78.5 percent and 86.1 percent respectively in January and February, according to The Associated Press, citing the latest Chinese trade data. Furthermore, North Korea reduced its imports from China by 33 percent and 34 percent. The data are consistent with trading trends that began in the latter half of 2017, although it should be noted that neither China nor North Korea is known for economic transparency.

China has traditionally been North Korea’s economic lifeline, but over the past year, Beijing appears to have increased the pressure on Pyongyang by severing trade ties, halting financial and business services for North Korean companies, expelling workers, and upholding international sanctions.

As I said, we will remain skeptical. But we find in this story yet another confirmation of our view that China is pulling the strings in North Korea, but that Xi Jinping has scrupulously allowed Kim Jong-un to save face. Kim’s recent high level trip to Beijing showed that Xi is giving Kim face. This probably means that Kim is about to make some serious concessions in negotiating with South Korea and America… and that he is doing so, not merely because of the sanctions but also because he is persuaded that Xi has his back… and that he will not end up like Col. Qaddhafi. 

After Xi gave Kim face, it will be far more difficult for him to stand by if the Kim regime is threatened.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Xi wants Kim to back off and play nice. Otherwise, he might have to get tough.