US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that China had failed to convince North Korea to give up on its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions. Trump’s statement has left many wondering over US’ possible course of action in face of failing diplomatic efforts to rein in the rogue regime.
Trump’s “extraordinary admission of failure in his strategy” came a day before Chinese and American officials were scheduled to meet in Washington to discuss North Korea, The New York Times reported. The rogue regime was also reported to be preparing to conduct its sixth nuclear test as the two powers meet, in a clear defiance of international concerns.
A day before, 22-year old American student Otto Warmbier succumbed to his alleged brain injuries after doing an 18-month prison time in North Korea.
In an interview with Reuters in April, the American President had warned of a major conflict with the north-east Asian country if the diplomatic options didn’t work out. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” he said. the US President was quoted as saying.
In another interview with The Financial Times, Trump had said that he would “act alone” if China didn’t help on North Korea.
With his latest admission, the world seems to be heading closer to that eventuality.
How Trump’s statement would play out in Wednesday’s meeting is keeping US officials on their toes, media reports claim. But the use of military force, harsher economic sanctions in cooperation with China and making more accommodations for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un are among the “unattractive” options that US now faces, as per the NYT.
The US administration has been in negotiations with North Korea for over an year in what now appears to be futile discussions.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the European Union was seeking a bigger role in discussions over North Korea, citing EU officials involved in the effort. However, any initiative on part of the EU to end the longstanding stalemate would also require the backing of Donald Trump, the WSJ reported. Any EU-mediated intervention would also have China and South Korea as major players. With Trump all but ruling China out of the picture, the situation has been further complicated.
South Korea, on the other hand, seems to be making its own efforts to thaw relations between the North and rest of the world. The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Seoul is proposing that North Korea host some events at next year’s Winter Olympics, in a bid to de-escalate political tensions.
What needs to be seen, however, is how much ground is North Korea willing to concede.