Kevin Rudd: U.S. Military Action against North Korea 'on the Table'

Interview on Australia Broadcasting Corporation

In the aftermath of Pyongyang’s successful intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 4, ASPI President Kevin Rudd spoke with the Australian Broadcasting Network’s ”7.30” program to discuss the possibility of the United States taking unilateral military action against North Korea.

China has two points of leverage against North Korea to compel it to change its nuclear program, Rudd said. One being its supply of energy to the region, which keeps North Korea’s economy and ”military turning.” Second, China is the primary source of convertible currency for North Korea to gain access to global markets. However, Rudd explained that China remains unwilling to use these pressure points because “it still sees this as an 80 percent U.S. problem and a 20 percent China problem.”

For China, “the U.S. threat of a unilateral military strike against North Korea is not credible,” because China believes that the United States will not want to risk a massive retaliation against South Korea by the North. Rudd emphasized that China needs to understand that North Korea’s ICBM test changes the U.S. attitude significantly and creates “a whole different political calculus” for the Trump administration. This, Rudd stated, is the "centerpiece of the strategic miscommunication” between the United States and China. (6 mins. 54 secs.)

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