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For decades, the United States has been trying to get China to use its influence and power to isolate North Korea. Now, experts are asking, why doesn’t the United States try working with North Korea to isolate China? That could be a game changer not just for the North Korea crisis but for the entire region.
The Kim Jong Un regime is no friend of Beijing. In fact, China-North Korea relations are at a historic low point since the young Kim came to power. Kim has refused to meet with senior Chinese leaders, and he even apparently assassinated his own half-brother, who was living under Chinese protection. The time might be right to approach Kim with a better deal for his regime and his people by offering him a grand bargain that would take North Korea away from China and bring it into the camp of the United States and its allies.
“Historically, the Koreans always mistrust the Chinese. They like Chinese money, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into political influence,” said Jenny Town, assistant director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “There’s always an opportunity to further antagonize that relationship.”
By talking to the North Korean regime about something Washington and Pyongyang are both concerned about — China — the Trump administration could reset the chess board.
How likely are strong US-North Korea relations against China? Will the U.S. play its trump card on North Korea to isolate Beijing?
As cracks deepen in the decades-old friendship between Pyongyang and its chief sponsor state, China, the U.S. may have found an antidote to Beijing’s expanding economic and political footprint in Asia.
Does the Trump administration have a trump card up its sleeve to bring North Korea into its sphere of influence to dismantle Pyongyang’s missile program and shrink China’s influence in the region, something both North and the U.S. are equally concerned about?
While strong US-North Korea relations are unlikely at this point, the Trump administration has a unique opportunity to approach the rogue state with a different tactic now that the tensions have subsided and now that China-North partnership is standing on thin ice.
Despite their close ties from the Korean War through the day Kim assumed office in 2011, relations between Beijing and Pyongyang have remained cold during Kim’s rule. In fact, the North Korean supreme leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping have never met as leaders in over five years.
How Likely are Strong US-North Korea Relations to Isolate China?
As China continues walking a diplomatic tightrope with the economic pressure on North Korea, this might be the unprecedented opportunity for the Trump administration to approach the Kim regime with a better deal that would peel the pariah state away from China.
US-North Korea relations could evolve from tense to cooperative in an instant the second the Trump administration offers Pyongyang a package of economic benefits, security assurances and larger legitimacy. In fact, North Korea would likely see it as a better alternative to its current strained relations with China. “We’ve tried to work with China on North Korea for 20 years,” Joshua Eisenman, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, told the Washington Post. “At some point we have to accept the failure of that policy and adopt a new approach.”
China ‘Fears’ Losing North to US
So far, the U.S. has limited its dialogues with North Korea to only the things the U.S. government wants while not discussing what the Kim regime wants. Pyongyang’s imprisonment of three Americans as well as its growing missile program have been on every agenda of US-North talks, without broadening the discussions to appeal to the Asian nation’s interests.
With the ever-increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang, Washington has not developed trust to open the door for productive discussions between the Trump administration and the Kim regime. Stealing North Korea away from China could be beneficial for both Washington and Pyongyang, experts argue.
In fact, China has two “fears” about the Korean peninsula: an armed conflict and losing North Korea to the U.S., according to Eisenman. “At the very least, we should be expanding the list of items on the agenda and not limiting it to the nuclear issue.”
originally posted by: dianajune
This would be a horrible idea. Who would want to align themselves with Kim - who is well known for being brutal, evil and nuts.....had members of his own family murdered.....and many others in a variety of ways and places, even schoolyards.
No way should we align ourselves with someone like that.....who starves his own countrymen while he lives in the lap of luxury. Who demands that everyone around him see him as a "god." Which is absolutely blasphemous.
Nope. If it were up to me I would say now way.......no how.
So if China were to assume responsibility for removing the Kim regime, denuclearizing the country, and reunifying the peninsula under a government in Seoul friendly to Beijing, would the United States remove all its bases from the South and end its military alliance?”