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(Opinion) Why China Isn't Doing More to Stop North Korea

2017-08-10 09:08:04       source:The Atlantic

August 9, 2017

The leaders of North Korea’s greatest adversary and greatest ally agree: It’s bad that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and it would be better if they gave them up. So why do the United States and China keep butting heads over North Korea, as Kim Jong Un fine-tunes his nuclear arsenal?

The latest effort to counter North Korea’s nuclear program—UN Security Council sanctions on several North Korean exports, orchestrated by American and Chinese negotiators—appears to indicate that the United States and China are finally joining forces to crush Kim’s nuclear ambitions. Yet the unity of purpose fades upon closer inspection. U.S. officials have questioned whether the Chinese government will enforce the sanctions, as the Trump administration considers ways to retaliate if Beijing fails to get tougher on its ally in Pyongyang. Donald Trump has boasted that the Security Council sanctions will have a “very big financial impact” on the North Korean economy, but the Chinese likely prevented the impact from being even bigger; the UN measures, for instance, notably do not restrict China and other countries from exporting oil to North Korea.

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