North Korea has yet to conduct a sixth nuclear test, and the reason may be China.
Beijing warned Pyongyang against carrying out another test, informing the reclusive regime that the Chinese would pursue “sanctions actions on their own” if North Korea failed to heed its warning, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed to Fox News Thursday.
Tillerson’s remark indicates that President Donald Trump’s efforts to rein in North Korea by way of the country’s friendly neighbor China may be yielding fruit.
The new administration has said that if China fails to stop North Korea, the U.S. will be forced to take unilateral action. This could involve aggressive secondary sanctions against Chinese entities collaborating with the regime or the application of military force against North Korea’s nuclear and weapons facilities.
Chinese media has presented several warnings to Pyongyang in recent weeks, urging it to turn back.
“If North Korea carries out a sixth nuclear test as expected, it is more likely than ever that the situation will cross the point of no return,” the Global Times, a newspaper managed by the state-run People’s Daily, wrote Tuesday.
“All stakeholders will bear the consequences, with Pyongyang sure to suffer the greatest losses,” the outlet explained.
The Times does not speak for the state, but it does occasionally reflect certain government opinions.
“If Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test in the near future, the possibility of US military action against it will be higher than ever,” the Global Times wrote on April 12. “Not only Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”
At this point in time, it is unclear whether North Korea’s decision not to test a nuclear device was a result of Chinese pressure, but it does appear that Beijing is taking a tougher stance on Pyongyang and its destabilizing actions.
China has also been turning away North Korean coal shipments, a major source of income for the regime.