Chinese Pressure on North Korea Might be Working

Adm. Harry Harris, boss of US Pacific Command, told Congress Thursday that Chinese efforts to pressure North Korea on its nuclear provocations might be working. “I think we’re in a different place now,” Harris told the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he pointed to a recent meeting between US President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China. Harris said that while China has always had “the capability to influence and affect North Korean behavior,” in the past “it had chosen not to.” While he emphasized that “it’s too early to tell” for sure, Harris believes a shift has occurred recently in China’s willingness to reign in its neighbor. “From a month ago forward we’re seeing some positive behavior from China, and I’m encouraged by that, so I think we should let this thing play out a little bit,” Harris told SASC. North Korea has not tested a nuclear warhead or an intercontinental ballistic missile within the past month, and while he offered no evidence that China’s economic pressure on North Korea is related to Pyongyang’s hiatus, Harris insisted it is important that the US “give President Xi and China a chance.”