Is China Using North Korea For Nuclear Blackmail Against The US?
By: Anders Corr , Contributor // Nov 23, 2016 @ 10:13 PM
A Wall Street Journal article recently stated that “Some White House officials believe that if Mr. Trump follows through on campaign vows to label China a currency manipulator and slaps Chinese imports with hefty tariffs, Chinese President Xi Jinping will make it a point to be uncooperative on North Korea.” The main issue on which the U.S. needs Chinese cooperation on North Korea is to stop its development of nuclear weapons that can reach the United States. If the White House officials are correct, China’s linkage of cooperation on North Korea to U.S. trade issues would be close to using the nuclear weapons of a proxy country to blackmail the United States.
China has arguably done this before, including through nuclear assistance to proliferating authoritarian countries. China is a major ally of Pakistan, whose China-assisted nuclear weapons threaten India. China is an ally of Russia, whose nuclear weapons threaten the U.S. and Europe. China is an ally of Iran, whose China-assisted nuclear weapons development threatens Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are U.S. allies. In other words, China assists all the major nuclear-armed countries that oppose the United States and its democratic allies. Why is that? Could it be that China is purposefully supporting nuclear proxies against the United States? If one of these proxies launches just a few weapons against the U.S., and destroys our economy, tax base, and therefore our defense industry, China could sit the conflict out, high and dry, and announce itself afterwards as the next global hegemon.
Giving into authoritarians with nuclear weapons, as one writer in the Atlantic recently proposed to do with North Korea, is not the answer. The U.S., our European allies, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, are all democracies, and have bigger, better, and more innovative economies than the autocrats. If democracies could unify against the threat of authoritarian regimes, we could use strong economic sanctions and a robust military defense to dissuade them from their current path of authoritarian militarization. We should start with China, whose economy has the most to lose from trade sanctions, and which supports lesser autocrats worldwide. If we wait and do nothing about nuclear proliferation among autocrats, which is essentially what we have done for the last few decades, we abandon millions of people in our cities to the whims of nuclear-armed tin pot dictators like Kim Jong-un