President Donald Trump’s new tariff threat against China has drawn a rebuke from a North Korea expert who warned on Monday that his threat could backfire by sabotaging his effort to reign in Kim Jong Un and achieve a denuclearization deal.
Negotiations with North Korea have come to a halt since the failure of Trump’s Vietnam summit with Kim, but his trade negotiations with China are still ongoing.
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On Sunday, Trump decided to announce new tariffs against the Chinese despite the fact that his previous tariffs have been a disaster for farmers and threaten to trigger an economic slowdown.
….of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019
Trump then threatened them again on Monday morning.
The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2019
The problem is that China still has cards to play against the United States in retaliation, including cashing in all the IOUs we’ve been giving them in exchange for the billions we have borrowed.
But there’s an even more serious way China can retaliate, warns Harry Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest.
“Donald Trump today tweeting out about increasing tariffs and things of that nature, he needs to be a little careful because his North Korea policy could blow up in his face,” Kazianis told CNBC, pointing out that China can use sanctions against North Korea “as a weapon against the United States.”
“Think about it this way, 90 percent of North Korea’s exports go to China,” Kazianis explained. “[China] could end maximum pressure in days by just opening up the border.”
Indeed, China enforces sanctions placed upon North Korea and can simply stop doing so, rendering Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy worthless, thus giving Kim Jong Un the economic relief he wants while still getting to build his nuclear arsenal, making our country and allies less safe as a result.
We need China to keep the pressure on North Korea, and all Trump is doing by slapping more tariffs against the Chinese is shooting himself in the foot. If he thinks North Korea is being difficult now, just imagine how difficult negotiations will be if the sanctions are unenforced.
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