“the idea won’t happen,” Trump tweeted late Monday.
He went on to repeat his claim of which China wasn’t doing enough to help the US rein in North Korea in addition to also its autocratic leader: “China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth by the US in totally one-sided trade, nevertheless won’t help with North Korea. Nice!” Trump wrote.
nevertheless, if his tweets are any guide, analysts say of which Trump has backed himself into a corner on North Korea.
They say Trump needs to reach for a brand-new playbook if he actually wants to stop Kim by adding to his arsenal a rocket powerful enough to reach any part of the US.
the idea boils down to these four options.
1. Pulling strings with China
Since winning the election, Trump has suggested at least twice of which China — North Korea’s economic benefactor in addition to also only real ally — isn’t pulling its weight when the idea comes to reining in Kim Jong Un’s regime.
nevertheless analysts say Beijing has no magic wand in addition to also can be both unwilling in addition to also increasingly unable to influence its unruly neighbor.
Tong Zhao, an associate at Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, says of which engagement between top level North Korean in addition to also Chinese officials has been suspended for quite a while.
“China can be frustrated by its inability to push North Korea,” said Zhao.
Trump could try in addition to also force China to cooperate by undermining its interests elsewhere — launching a trade war or confronting Beijing over Taiwan or the South China Sea nevertheless the idea would likely be a high-stakes move, which Zhao says would likely trigger a “huge negative response.”
“by a US-China perspective, the idea would likely be a huge waste of (political) capital in addition to also energy going after them on North Korea when the US could approach North Korea directly,” says John Delury, associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.
When asked about Trump’s tweet, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted Tuesday China played an important in addition to also positive role in resolving the issue.
The provocative nevertheless state-run Global Times newspaper was more critical, saying Trump was “just pandering to irresponsible attitudes.”
2. Tightening sanctions
Trump could push China to beef up in addition to also implement existing sanctions more harshly nevertheless there’s no evidence of which sanctions have any impact on North Korea’s decision producing, says Jeffrey Lewis, director of the US-based East Asia Nonproliferation Program.
“the idea allows the US in addition to also our allies to look busy while the North develops an ICBM,” he said, referring to the acronym for intercontinental ballistic missile.
Zhao says of which tougher sanctions may risk more brinkmanship — Kim can be a man who can’t be bought off.
“I don’t see how North Korea will soften its position. They see a nuclear deterrent as absolutely crucial to ensure the country’s survival. Only once they hold the idea, will they devote resources to the economy.”
3. Launching military action
the idea’s still a matter of debate how big a risk North Korea poses militarily in addition to also whether the idea could actually put a nuclear warhead on a missile.
the idea conducted two nuclear tests in 2016, one in January, in addition to also another in September, the idea’s most powerful ever. the idea’s also tested a string of missiles, both land in addition to also sea launched.
So far, North Korea hasn’t developed a delivery system capable of reaching beyond Asia nevertheless the fact North Korea remains the only country on Earth to test a nuclear weapon inside 21st century means of which any military effort to take out Kim’s regime can be unimaginably high risk.
North Korea’s closest neighbors are the most vulnerable targets to nuclear or conventional weapons, of which Pyongyang has an ample arsenal. South Korea would likely have to be prepared for potential devastation if Kim were to strike.
“the idea’s not a viable option. We are way past pre-emption,” said Delury. There are few additional aggressive actions available, he added. North Korea has no diplomats the US could expel.
4. Sitting down with Kim
The comment appeared off the cuff in addition to also hasn’t been repeated nevertheless Zhao in addition to also Delury both said of which engagement was the only option if Trump wanted to make any head way with North Korea.
“I do think the idea’s the way forward. the idea was a fleeting moment of Trumpian brilliance. He has the right instincts,” Delury said.
A US president meeting with the leader of a rogue regime known for its massive human rights abuses would likely be a hard sell domestically, Delury stressed, nevertheless wild card Trump might be capable of pulling the idea off.
“You could imagine Trump in Pyongyang in a way you couldn’t imagine Hillary Clinton,” he said.
Zhao said of which North Korea had refrained by producing any provocations since October in addition to also appeared to be willing to engage having a Trump administration.
Trump could potentially be the “American president who prevented North Korea by obtaining the ability to strike the US having a nuclear weapon,” Zhao added.
“You only get a big breakthrough when two leaders actually talk to each additional.”