A View from the United States on Sino-U.S. Relations


During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the candidates reached a bipartisan consensus on one issue: how to deal with North Korea. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both called for China to do more to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program once and for all. Candidate Trump said that China has “absolute control” over North Korea and promised to do whatever it takes to convince Beijing to use that leverage, including imposing penalties on Chinese firms. As president, however, Trump will have to navigate the reality of China’s extreme hesitance to use the only type of pressure likely to divert North Korea’s nuclear ambitions—the threat of regime-endangering punishment. If and how China should continue to fit into U.S. strategy for dealing with North Korea will thus be a key issue facing Trump and his advisors.

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