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Trump lacks plan on N. Korea: U.S. expert

All Headlines 06:56 December 27, 2016

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump appears to lack a plan on how to deal with North Korea even though his administration is set to take off in less than a month, a U.S. expert said Sunday.

Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also said in an interview with CBS television that the Trump foreign policy team doesn't seem to have a full strategy yet on China.

North Korea is "not an issue that Trump knows a lot about," Glaser said, adding that the concern for the United States is that the North Koreans could pose an existential threat to the homeland if they can make a nuclear warhead that can potentially reach U.S. territory.

"Do we have a strategy that focuses on defense? Do we take a much more aggressive posture against North Korea?" Glaser said, wondering about Trump's plan. "Some people are raising the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on a missile, if it's on a launch pad, because we don't know what's atop that missile, whether it's a satellite or a nuclear warhead.

"There may be some discussions about whether we really need to try to cut off trade and harm North Korea's economy, go beyond sanctions that are really focused on depriving North Korea of weapons of mass destruction," she said.

Trump lacks plan on N. Korea: U.S. expert - 1

Most American experts agree that North Korea will be one of the biggest problems facing the Trump administration as the communist nation stepped up its development of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Outgoing President Barack Obama also reportedly warned Trump of the dangers the North poses to the U.S. when the two met at the White House last month.

During the election campaign, Trump said he would pressure China to exercise its influence over North Korea as the main food and energy provider to rein in the regime in Pyongyang, saying the North is basically China's problem to fix.

But he also expressed a willingness to hold direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over "hamburgers," a remark seen as aimed at underscoring the point he's a great negotiator. However, the remark invited huge criticism that such a meeting would only bolster the North's dictator.

Earlier this month, Trump strongly criticized China for "not helping us at all with North Korea" when "China could solve that problem." He even questioned why the U.S. should stick to the policy of recognizing only China, not Taiwan, when Beijing is uncooperative over the North and engages in unfair trade practices.

"It looks to me like Trump is trying to keep China off balance, to try and signal that he's not necessarily going to conduct business as usual in the same way that it has been conducted over the last eight years under Obama and that he thinks it can appear that he can gain some leverage by signaling a willingness to confront China," Glaser said.


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