It is apparently an open secret among Chinese fishermen that it is cheaper to pay USA dollars for North Korean fish and other seafood than it is to hire Chinese crew. But that will require cooperation from China, which the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to alienate. "That combines with many other complexities, including China's concerns over the [deployment of] Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [in South Korea] and mounting pressures from the U.S. Hence, China's policy toward Pyongyang hasn't factored in its growing anxiety, discontent and complaints about the North as a result of its considerations to maintain a strategic balance", he added. But it is possible to imagine a mix of reduced sanctions, a formal end to the Korean War (which would offer recognition of North Korea), and possibly some modest adjustment to conventional military exercises.
So why go along with it, much less the Chinese suggestion that the United States starts a parallel process of peace talks for a treaty with North Korea, outside of the diseased and disused but still present frame of the Six-Party Talks?
In the interest of keeping costs low, reports have surfaced that Chinese manufacturers are looking across the border to North Korea to have their goods produced, and then labeling and selling them to the world as Made in China.
Dunford will spend three days in China, visiting PLA units, including China's Northern Theater Command in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, which borders North Korea.
On August 14th, as tensions began to subside, an editorial in the overseas edition of China's People's Daily chastised both the United States and North Korea for "playing a game of chicken on the Korean peninsula". "I think we've had a very transparent exchange with our Chinese interlocutors about North Korea as well", Dunford said. If this were to happen though, Kim Jong Un has ways to raise supplies and cash from illicit channels to keep the military going, analysts say. "It seems that the pressure put on by China worked".
USA assurances serve another important Chinese interest.
Other experts contend that if Beijing won't earnestly and honestly engage in that conversation, the United States should see whether the Kim regime might. The sanctions act as punishments for North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.
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Dunford thanked the Chinese Navy for helping with the rescue of a US sailor who had fallen overboard.
This is the highest-level meeting between the two countries' militaries since Trump and Xi met in Florida in April. The implication is that China can force the North Korean leadership to abandon its nuclear weapons program. In turn, President Trump would expect President Xi to give assurances that he will significantly increase economic pressure on North Korea and implement earlier commitments that China has not fully carried out.
A further question is whether the US can sustain a coordinated strategy with its ally South Korea.
In the latest development, the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, said the decision to "delay" the missile attack on Guam is deliberate. Washington must work closely with South Korea and take careful account of its interests, especially if cooperating with China based on the "4 No's" becomes the core of USA strategy toward North Korea.
The United Nations Security Council has now unanimously passed the harshest sanctions yet against North Korea, in the hope of pressuring the small country to renounce its nuclear-weapons program.
In addition, it is apparently an open secret among Chinese fishermen that it is cheaper to pay United States dollars for North Korean fish and other seafood than it is to hire Chinese crew. Deterrence will have to be part of the USA approach indefinitely.
On the other hand, North Korea's regime gets much of its income by exporting counterfeit pharmaceuticals such as Viagra to Japan and elsewhere, narcotics such as methamphetamine, counterfeit cigarettes and fake $100 US bills, and by selling small arms and missile parts to terror groups and rogue nations.