US could punish Chinese companies doing business with North Korea

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today in Japan, the first destination of his trip to Asia, that the strategy of the last 20 years regarding North Korea has been a “failure” and called for “a new approach” To face what he defined as the “escalation” of the North Korean “threat”.

Washington has yet to reveal its new position on Pyongyang, but US media have leaked that President Donald Trump has demanded an absolute review of current US policy based on what Barack Obama’s administration called “strategic patience” : A stance on the sanctions, the deployment of the missile shield known as THAAD and the total absence of dialogue with the authorities of North Korea.

American sources quoted by media such as CNN or the Wall Street Journal have said that one of the purposes of Tillerson’s trip – which after visiting Japan will go to South Korea and then to China – is to warn Beijing that as part of this review are Contemplating the imposition of secondary sanctions aimed at the many Chinese firms that constitute Pyongyang’s main access channel.

“We are aware of the influence that China has on North Korea and we are always encouraging them to play a stronger role in this regard, either through a more complete implementation of the sanctions regime that exists or through other forms,” Said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

“We have to put pressure on the regime to make them feel and pay the price for their behavior,” he added.

Last week a Chinese technology firm, ZTE, agreed to pay a $ 1.2 billion fine for violating measures that barred it from trading with Iran and North Korea.

Last September, during the Obama era, Washington for the first time sanctioned a Chinese company located in the border city of Dandong because of its ties to North Korea, which could now become a generalized attitude under the baton of Trump.

“For a while, US policy toward North Korea will be run by the Department of Defense rather than the State, putting more military pressure on China rather than resorting to diplomacy,” said Go Myong-hyun, An expert at the Asan Institute of Political Studies in South Korea, quoted by Yonhap news agency.

This hypothesis could exacerbate tensions with Beijing, which have risen many degrees since Washington and Seoul decided to start the deployment of the THAAD. The concern of China, who believes that the range of the radars of this weapon system constitutes a threat to its security, could even increase if Japan decides to install also in its territory those same batteries, a possibility that is studying.

Tokyo alarms were fired last day when Pyongyang launched four medium-range missiles simultaneously, one of which fell only 200 kilometers off its shores.

The North Korean crisis maintains its particular spiral between military maneuvers, virulent verbal exchanges and threats of all kinds.

The North Korean official agency KCNA said today that US B-1B aircraft tested on Monday “the launching of nuclear bombs aimed at carrying out pre-emptive strikes against” North Korea and criticized this “escalation of threats”.

Hundreds of thousands of troops from South Korea and the US are currently engaged in major military maneuvers in recent years.

Journey to the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas

After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tillerson plans to travel to Seoul and from there he will move to the so-called Demilitarized Zone, the demarcation line that divides the two Koreas since 1953 and where hundreds of thousands of uniforms have been deployed.

A spokesman for Pyongyang in Beijing, diplomat Park Myong Ho, said during the day that his country had proposed in the past to Washington to sign a peace treaty and that the American nation rejected it.

“Our position is that in the face of US threats we have to strengthen our nuclear arsenal and our determination in that direction is clear: the United States has to change by complete policy with regard to North Korea.For decades they have only opted for military maneuvers” , Said Park Myong Ho.

The same representative of Pyongyang referred to the assassination of Kim Jong Nam – the half brother of Kim Jong Un – in Malaysia and described the whole investigation as a “political farce promoted by the US and South Korea, and aimed at “The Malaysian police chief said Interpol has already issued a notice to seek internationally the 4 North Koreans suspected of involvement in this daring homicide, which has led to a very serious diplomatic clash between That Asian nation and North Korea even though they had been close allies for decades.