President Donald Trump says if China is not going to solve the problem of North Korea, "we will." "China has a great influence over North Korea," Trump told London's Financial Times. "And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't ... and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone."
Trump hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping at the U.S. leader's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida Thursday. Their two-day summit will undoubtedly focus on North Korea and its nuclear program. Threats and sanctions, including China's recent cut-off of coal imports from North Korea, have failed to deter Pyongyang's drive to become a nuclear armed power.
U.S. experts warn North Korea is planning its sixth nuclear text. Tokyo called a February North Korean ballistic missile launch over the Sea of Japan "intolerable." Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland told the Financial Times it is conceivable North Korea could have the ability to hit the U.S. with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the Trump administration in 2021.
Appearing on ABC television's This Week broadcast Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it is time for China to act and stop making "excuses that they're concerned, too." "They need to show us how concerned they are. They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China," Haley said.
The White House is considering all options in dealing with North Korea, including military action. Former U.S. defense secretary Ash Carter, also speaking on This Week, said the U.S. had a plan for a preemptive strike on North Korea's Yeonpyeong research facility in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president.
Carter said the military option always has been and always should be on the table. He said a preemptive strike on a missile launch pad could trigger a North Korean invasion of South Korea and the certain defeat of the North.
But, he warned the consequences of such a move would be a war that would have "intensity of violence ... that we haven't seen since the last Korean War. Seoul is right there on the borders of the DMZ."
Carter said the North knows the U.S. is emphasizing its deterrent posture and strength on the Korean peninsula. He also said China knows that the collapse of North Korea would lead to a unified Korea allied with the U.S. right on its border.