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N. Korea Highly Likely to Trigger Economic Conflict between US and China
Warning Secondary Boycott
N. Korea Highly Likely to Trigger Economic Conflict between US and China
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • September 5, 2017, 09:30
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North Korea’s 6th nuclear test will possibly accelerate an economic conflict between the US and China.
North Korea’s 6th nuclear test will possibly accelerate an economic conflict between the US and China.


There is a growing possibility that the first phase after North Korea’s 6th nuclear test will be an economic conflict between the US and China.

"The US is considering options to stop all trade with any countries that trade with North Korea in addition to other options," US President Donald Trump said on September 3 (local time). "President Trump warned about a secondary boycott which means sanctions against third-country businesses, banks and individuals who normally do business with North Korea," said the British Guardian that said that President Trump will step up pressure on North Korea's biggest trading partner, China.

"We do not want war but our patience has a limit," said US Ambassador to the United Nations Nicky Haley at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on September 4 (local time), echoing the warning from President Trump. "North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is begging for war. We need to take a strong action against North Korea."

China is reacting extremely cautiously, placing a gag on the Chinese media’s reports on North Korea’s nuclear test. This is because China is concerned that the Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), a major national event of China, will be covered by the North Korean nuclear issue. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin jointly announced that they will continue to maintain the goal of a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

It is quite a challenge to grasp what is on Chinese authorities’ minds but an editorial of the Chinese government-controlled Global Times which was published shortly after the nuclear test by the North and was deleted showed a part of what the Chinese government thought about the North Korean nuclear issue. The editorial says, “Unless there is radiation damage in the northeast region of China, China does not need to take the lead in sanctions on North Korea, such as bringing a halt to oil supply to North Korea.”

The only editorial that was out on September 4 was the official Chinese government-run newspaper China Daily which explained China's position to foreign readers. “Year after year, the international community has been burdened by the contradiction between its shared interest in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and its inability to truly stand together when it comes to making efforts to truly make a difference, which explains the vicious circle of escalation. We have looked on while the intervals between the DPRK's (North Korea’s) provocations have kept narrowing -- it fired an alleged mid-range ballistic missile, over Japan, last week. Judging from the trajectory of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile adventure, Sunday's test will obviously not be its last show of defiance,” the newspaper said in an editorial on the same day.

According to most US, Chinese and Japanese experts, an economic conflict between the US and China is highly likely to take place as President Trump's plan to take the surrender of North Korea collides with China’s will not to lose its balance during a confrontation between North Korea and the US. “China will redefine its relationship with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un who thinks that North Korea ​​can easily deal with the US and China like moving pieces on a chess board thanks to North Korea's geopolitical value. But China will do that not due to a demand from the US but for its own strategic interests," said professor Chen at Beijing University said.