China plays the North Korea nuclear card


Beijing trades promises to help for U.S. acceptance of its Western Pacific hegemony

The provocative actions by North Korea over the past three months since President Trump took office should not come as a surprise. In his campaign for the presidency, candidate Donald Trump repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for failing to take stronger action against China’s illegal actions in the South China Sea.

These illegal actions involve creating artificial islands on disputed rocks and shoals. Some of these are well within the 200 nautical-mile economic zone of other countries, such as the Philippines. China has continued to ignore the U.N. Law of the Sea Hague Tribunal that declared China’s territorial claims over essentially the entire South China Sea as illegal. Yet China has continued to militarize these artificial islands by building runways that can accommodate scores of aircraft, in effect, stationary aircraft carriers. It has installed air defense systems as well anti-ship missile systems. China’s objectives remain constant: to achieve hegemony out to the first island chain, destroy Taiwan’s democracy, and replace the United States as the dominant power in the Western Pacific by destroying our system of alliances.

As part of President Trump’s new assertive policies for the Western Pacific to counter China’s illegal and aggressive actions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that the island building must stop. He stated that our strategic patience is over. He then called for China to be denied access to these artificial islands.