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China Sees ‘Hardening’ in U.S. Approach to North Korea

Kevin Rudd on Fox News Radio

This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on July 5, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on July 5, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

5 July 2017
Kevin Rudd on Fox News Radio

On July 5, 2017, ASPI President Kevin Rudd spoke on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio about North Korea’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile test and its impact on political relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.

Rudd attributed the disconnect between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping to China’s suspicion that the United States is not serious about “an American unilateral military strike against North Korea to either degrade or destroy its nuclear program,” as well as a misunderstanding on the U.S. side about China’s perspective on North Korea. While China recognizes Pyongyang’s nuclear program as a problem, it “still places a higher priority on [its] political and strategic relationship” with North Korea, Rudd stated.

However, Rudd listed three occurrences in the past week that might signal to China that America’s approach to China vis-à-vis North Korea is “changing” or “hardening.” The first, President Trump’s tweet on Wednesday pointing to growing trade between China and North Korea and suggesting that the current approach is clearly not working. The second, “U.S. Naval deployments in the South China Sea,” and the third, the $1.4 billion arms sale by the U.S. to Taiwan.

With North Korea’s provocative launch occurring during Independence Day weekend in the United States and as Xi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin met in Moscow, Rudd warned that there is now “a radical change in temperature” in the region. (7 min., 3 sec.)

Listen to the full interview here.