CHINA-N. KOREA TIES STILL STRONG
A draft congressional commission report has concluded that China is not cooperating with the United States and others in Asia to pressure North Korea into halting its nuclear and missile programs.
“Following a slew of missile and weapons systems tests demonstrating alarming advances in capabilities, in September 2016 North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, which was the most powerful to date,” says the latest draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Beijing publicly condemned the latest nuclear test, but the bipartisan commission said “given its track record, China can be expected to unevenly enforce sanctions in a way that will not seriously destabilize the Kim [Jong-un] regime.”
Also, increased North Korean missile and nuclear tests will not lead Beijing to cut off trade and critical resources like coal and oil, despite demands that Beijing pressure its ally, the report said.
Worse, the announced deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced missile defense, in South Korea is being viewed by China as a “direct threat.” China has begun using the THAAD deployment to obstruct international and regional cooperation on North Korea.