China ignored North Korean sanctions under Obama, but does a complete 180° for President Trump. Why?

China now seems poised to cooperate in the denuclearization of their longtime client state. What ulterior motive is driving The Red Dragon to act now?

It was only a few short months ago that China spat in Barack Obama’s face and ignored international sanctions against North Korea. What a difference an election makes.

Last September, China was purchasing record amounts of coal from the hermit kingdom in complete violation of international sanctions imposed against the rogue nuclear state. Chinese leadership knew full well they could maintain business as usual with North Korea while the pathetically weak ‘leadership’ of Barack Obama directed U.S. foreign policy. The Obama doctrine of ‘strategic patience‘ with North Korea was an open signal to China that the United States would do absolutely nothing of consequence to reign in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

It was clear several years before the 2016 presidential election that Donald Trump had very different ideas on confronting the North Korean threat than that of Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

As far back as 2013, Trump was pointing at placing pressure on China as the most effective path toward the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

After the November election, Trump began sending signals to Chinese leadership that an abrupt reversal of U.S. policy was imminent under his incoming administration..

Shortly before President Trump’s summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping, another very public declaration was made informing China of U.S. resolve to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Post-summit, President Trump again publicly implored China to cooperate with the United States to end the North Korean threat.

 

President Trump’s steadfastness appears to have yielded results. China yesterday took concrete steps to conform with international sanctions against North Korea.

Two reports from Reuters, one from last September, and another just yesterday illustrate this complete turnabout in Chinese policy:

China buys record North Korean coal as sanctions ignored

September 26th, 2016

It appears that China is interpreting the “people’s well-being” as meaning North Korea should be able to export record amounts of coal in defiance of sanctions against the rogue nuclear-armed state.

China imported 2.465 million tonnes of coal from North Korea in August, the highest on record, and 61 percent above what was bought in April, the month sanctions were supposed to take effect.

Tougher measures were imposed by the United Nations in March aimed at starving North Korea of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile program. (Reuters)

 

China Halted Coal Shipments From North Korea The Day After Trump Bombed Syria

April 12, 2017

Chinese officials told ships full of North Korean coal to return home the day after the Trump administration ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airfield in response to chemical weapons attacks.

[…]

Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday as well. The order to block North Korean coal was issued soon after Trump’s meeting with Xi concluded.

A dozen North Korean cargo ships loaded with coal were ordered to turn around, according to Reuters. (Daily Caller)

 

Remarkably, there are now strong indications that China itself may intervene militarily to end North Korea’s nuclear capability, rather than allow the embarassment of U.S. forces resolving the matter in what China considers its own backyard:

China threatens to ‘BOMB North Korea’ if tyrant Kim Jong-un crosses THIS ‘bottom line’

April 12, 2017

China may take devastating military action on North Korea if it crosses Beijing’s “bottom line”, according to reports in state-owned Chinese media.

The Chinese military would react with force if Kim Jong-un’s nuclear activities adversely affected areas of China bordering the hermit nation, according to an editorial in a government-owned newspaper.

The article in the Communist-party affiliated Global Times stressed the North’s nuclear facilities must not put northeastern regions of China in danger.

The editorial said: “China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China.

“If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back.

“By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US’ blows, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks on North Korean nuclear facilities on its own.”

The infamous Punggye-ri nuclear site is located closer to the Chinese border than it is to the North’s capital, Pyongyang. (Daily Express)

 

We are on the threshold of potentially witnessing a complete reversal in Chinese policy regarding North Korea.

Why would China do this?

It would be easy to make the assumption that President Trump’s leadership has influenced China. No one wants to see a regional nuclear conflict. Certainly not South Korea or Japan, but perhaps least of all China. But it may not be fear behind China’s sudden withdrawal of support for its longtime client.

China’s motives reach far beyond the Korean peninsula, and it would be foolish to believe that the Chinese would not adapt to an abrupt change in U.S. foreign policy for their own purposes.

Under Barack Obama, China saw an opportunity to exploit U.S. weakness, and used the backdrop of Obama’s feeble foreign policy to build a series of military installations on artificial islands across the South China Sea. As these fabricated military bases near completion, a nuclear armed North Korea no longer holds distractionary value for the achievement of China’s greater expansionary goals.

In World War II, Japan had to physically invade other nations in order to expand its military reach across Southeast Asia. China’s construction of artificial islands bypasses the need for direct conquest as a means of acquiring territory for military expansion.

China has constructed military bases on artificial islands across the South China Sea

With the overriding concerns of a nuclear armed North Korea out of the picture, the stage may soon be set for the next phase of Sino hegemony .. control of the vital commercial waterways in the South China Sea, exerting even greater influence over Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as providing China with additional strategic advantages to bring Taiwan under the complete control of Beijing. A rogue nuclear state in North Korea that is a potential threat to China itself, would be at odds with pending Chinese plans to have greater regional dominance in Southeast Asia.

China’s turnabout, a sudden seeming willingness to confront their nuclear armed client state addresses not only the U.S. goal of eliminating a deadly threat to America’s national security, but also assists in solving China’s long term ambitions.

The Chinese allowed North Korea to dabble in nuclear folly only so long as it provided cover for China to prepare itself for far more expansive military capabilities.

If the North Korean nuclear threat is eliminated, President Trump can and will claim a large share of the credit, but make no mistake .. China will attempt to use Trump’s resolve on North Korea to advance their own agendas.

A Trump triumph in North Korea might also potentially serve China’s long term interest.

 

 



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