President Donald Trump’s decision to escalate his trade war with China could completely ruin his plans to get North Korea to give up his nuclear weapons, one North Korean expert has told CNBC.
Harry Kazianis, the director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest, told the network that Trump is playing with fire by announcing increases in tariffs on China even as North Korea has started firing off missiles again.
“Donald Trump today tweeting out about increasing tariffs and things of that nature, he needs to be a little careful because his North Korea policy could blow up in his face,” he said.
The reason Trump’s trade threats to China could doom his North Korea initiative is that China is responsible for enforcing sanctions that have been leveled against the country.
“Think about it this way: 90 percent of North Korea’s exports go to China,” Kazianis said. “[China] could end maximum pressure in days by just opening up the border.”
Kazianis also knocked the administration’s overall strategy for getting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons.
“I think the Trump administration would be quite foolish to keep going after this so-called big deal where the North Koreans basically give up all their nuclear weapons, and then when that’s over, we remove the sanctions,” he said. “I don’t think that’ll work.”