The Donald Trump administration may go ahead with imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese companies and build up US military power to increase pressure on the Asian rival in a bid to rein in an increasingly wayward North Korea, a South Korean think tank predicted Thursday.
Forecasting the Trump administration's North Korea policy direction, Asan Institute for Policy Studies' researcher Go Myong-hyun said in a report that the US policy on North Korea will be formulated under the administration's broader diplomacy focus on "America First" and defense power buildup.
The Trump administration will basically inherit the previous government's North Korea policy concentrating on missile defense and economic sanctions, but may newly add the element of pressuring China, which will enhance the effectiveness of the US' North Korea policy, the report said.
Go cited "secondary boycott" as well as nuclear build-up and the US missile defense system as means of pressuring China, which the Trump administration may use in order to get Beijing to use its influence to stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions and provocations.
"The US nuclear and military buildup has the potential of frustrating China's nuclear deterrence capability, thus it may pose tremendous pressure on China," the researcher said.
"For a while in the future, the US policy toward North Korea will be led by the Department of Defense, not the Department of State, putting military pressure to hold China in check rather than diplomatic means," he noted.
"For its part, South Korea should also continue its pressure on China under a solid South Korea-US defense alliance, increasing strategic dialogue with China over what benefits or losses a unified Korean Peninsula may bring to China," the researcher said. (Yonhap)