Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said while visiting China that new sanctions imposed on North Korea are starting to have an effect.
“The Chinese are also telling us that it’s having an effect, and they have a pretty close-up view of it,” Tillerson said during a joint press conference with U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad on Sept. 30.
Tillerson said that in addition to the sanctions there is a “regional military response” to North Korea’s nuclear threat. According to the Secretary of State, Japan and South Korea have started to increase their defensive military capabilities.
The sanctions imposed on North Korea last month, in response to its sixth underground nuclear test, prohibited all sales of natural gas to the regime and limited the amount of oil that can be sold to it. The sanctions also ban all imports of textile products from the North.
President Donald Trump had initially pushed for stronger sanctions, calling for a complete halt to oil sales to North Korea, but received pushback from China and Russia.
However, Trump has praised China for taking stronger actions against North Korea. Last month China’s Central Bank announced that it had instructed other Chinese banks to stop providing financing to the North. Last week China announced that it is ordering North Korean businesses located in China to close within 120 days.
Speaking in Beijing on Sept. 30, Tillerson said that “we’re gaining the support of the Chinese.”
“They are actively engaged in putting pressure on the regime in Pyongyang,” he said.
Trump criticized Tillerson on Monday for pursuing talks with North Korea saying they were a waste of time.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man … Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!,” Trump said.
…Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
Tillerson said at the press briefing on Sept. 30, that he would ask the North Koreans “what do you want to talk about.”
Difference Between Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un
North Korea has repeatedly vowed that it will never relinquish its state nuclear program. U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed this assessment saying that the North Korean regime sees it as a crucial tool to its survival.
Tillerson said that while late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il conducted 10 missile tests over a period of 20 years, his son, Kim Jong-Un has conducted around 85 missile tests since coming to power in 2011.
According to Tillerson this is because Kim Jong-Un’s main concern is about his own security and the survival of his regime.
“So I think it was important to say, to us, “Look, our objective is denuclearization. Our objective is not to get rid of you. Our objective is not to collapse your regime. That’s not our objective. Our objective is denuclearization,” he said.
Tillerson said that China is just as concerned as the United States about North Korea becoming a nuclear power.
“They want it to become the last country to become a nuclear state in this region,” Tillerson said.
However, without China’s support, North Korea would not have been able to advance its nuclear program this far. The Chinese communist regime is a critical lifeline for North Korea through its trade and financing. It has also played a crucial role in its supporting its nuclear program.
“What China has done is create an unholy proliferation cooperation network,” Richard Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told The Epoch Times last month. “The Chinese have helped Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea to different degrees.”
The CCP provides different technologies to each nation to assist in their nuclear weapons programs; North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran then share this technology—and add their advancements to it—among themselves.
“The Chinese only need to make discreet material contributions, but all three will eventually benefit from it,” Fisher said.
Most of this happened under the purview of former Chinese communist leader Jiang Zemin. Even though Jiang has been officially out of power since 2003, he has still had a major influence on China’s domestic and foreign policies through his loyalists.
The stronger stance by current Chinese leader Xi Jinping against North Korea could signal that he is gaining more control over his own government.