SUMMIT FOCUSED ON NORTH KOREA
Tensions remain high in Northeast Asia following the dispatch of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to waters near the Korean Peninsula and signs that Pyongyang is preparing for another underground nuclear test.
The deployment of the carrier USS Carl Vinson followed the summit last week in Florida between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping where North Korea was the major topic of discussion.
Both leaders exchanged views on their assessment of the problem, but “there was mutual agreement the problem has become more urgent,” a senior administration tells Inside the Ring.
Highlighting the growing dangers, Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, canceled a scheduled appearance before Congress this week because of the heightened tensions.
According to the official, Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi renewed a commitment to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Trump also emphasized that the United States will not accept a de facto nuclear state in North Korea.
The president also pointedly told Mr. Xi that he is prepared to resolve the North Korean threat — unilaterally if need be.
“We did talk about the fact the U.S. will be increasing pressure on North Korea — with or without help from other countries,” the official said.
The prospect of U.S. military action against North Korea is something Mr. Xi and the Chinese government fear most. The threat of U.S. action was driven home to all the Chinese present at the Mar-a-Lago resort when Mr. Trump ordered a salvo of 59 cruise missiles on a Syrian airfield linked to a chemical weapons attack.
The timing of the Syria bombing was a clear signal to China that Mr. Trump, unlike his predecessor, is prepared to use American military power despite campaigning on “America First” policies.
Analysts say averting U.S. military action in Asia is among the highest priorities of China’s leadership. Beijing’s main strategic objective toward the United States is constraining what it regards as the declining U.S. superpower that it believes poses a danger to China.