Trump To Beijing: ‘Warrior’ Japan May Act On North Korea If China Fails

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President Donald Trump is still pushing China to rein in its hostile nuclear neighbor, and apparently that involves pitting old Asian rivals — Beijing and Tokyo — against one another.

“We have one problem. That’s a very big problem — it’s called North Korea,” Trump told Laura Ingraham on Fox Thursday evening. “North Korea is a thing that I think we will solve, and if we don’t solve it, it’s not going to be very pleasant for them. It’s not going to be very pleasant, I guess, for anybody.”

From the start, the Trump administration has urged China to increase pressure on North Korea, and China has actually taken a number of unprecedented steps to do exactly that. “President Xi has been pretty terrific,” the president said, “whether it’s cutting the banking system off from North Korea, whether it’s cutting the oil down to North Korea, cutting supplies down.”

“China has been helpful,” Trump said, but it is clear that the president expects China to do more. During the interview, he revealed that he told China that Japan may take matters into its own hands if Beijing doesn’t find a way to stop Pyongyang, an apparent reference to Japanese rearmament and militarization.

“Japan is a warrior nation,” the president explained to Ingraham. “I tell China, ‘Listen, you’re going to have yourself a big problem with Japan pretty soon if you allow this to continue with North Korea.”

North Korea’s ballistic provocations, along with China’s military rise, have encouraged Japan to consider strengthening its military capabilities to counter these challenges. Such discussions have become more common since North Korea twice launched Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

The Japanese government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed to amend the pacifist Japanese constitution to clear the way for Japanese rearmament, given the emergence of new and dangerous threats in East Asia.

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