Opinion: China needs to take stronger steps to minimize North Korea threat

FILE- In this July 4, 2017 file photo, distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - North Korea’s swashbuckling militarism is causing headaches for its closest ally – China.

China literally feeds and powers North Korea. It supplies most of North Korea’s food and energy.

China accounts for almost 90 percent of North Korea’s total trade, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. It holds commanding leverage over North Korea.

That is why North Korea’s recent missile test successes and other military advances pose danger to China’s relationships around the world, including, vitally, with the United States.

On the other hand, China does not want the North Korean regime to fall and the country to become a failed state. If that were to occur, China fears that millions of North Koreans would flood into China looking for food and shelter.

President Donald Trump and his administration recognize how key China could be to stopping North Korea. The administration has repeatedly called on President Xi Jinping to act on that authority.

Last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced a round of secondary sanctions against a Chinese bank, Chinese shipping company and two Chinese individuals for their financial ties to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.

"We will follow the money and cut off the money," Mnuchin said during a recent White House press briefing.

President Trump indicated in a tweet last week that he would be in favor of restricting trade with China if it didn’t do more in handling North Korea.

The bottom line is China is the dominant regional power in Asia. North Korea has been a client state, a little brother, of China’s for decades. It is China’s responsibility to control Kim Jong Un’s erratic tendencies and ambitions. The United States has to use every leverage possible, economic and otherwise, to push China toward slamming the door shut on North Korea’s growing aggression.

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