China controls North Korea; essentially as a proxy province. As a result Beijing controls the messaging from the DPRK. Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping is the captor and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un is the captive – it’s essentially a hostage dynamic. The historic objective has been to use DPRK aggression as a hedge against the west.
Predictably there was going to come a moment when Chairman Xi realized the trade negotiations by his adversary, President Trump, were a hall of mirrors. The U.S. President has played China by using their own panda-mask strategy against them.
President Trump achieved his goal when no-one was paying attention. The goal was a decoupling from China on economic terms. Strategic decoupling has been underway for over a year. There is no actual intent to reach a trade deal with China where the U.S. drops the tariffs and returns to holding hands with a happy panda playing by new rules. This fictional narrative is a figment of fantasy being sold by a financial media that cannot fathom a U.S. President would be so bold as to just walk away from China.
For almost three years U.S. President Trump has been working on two connected objectives: (1) removing the threat posed by North Korea by severing the ability of Beijing to use the proxy province as a weapon (Kim is hostage to China); and (2) deconstructing the growing economic influence of China.
Both issues are directly connected to U.S. national security; and both issues are being approached by President Trump through the use of economic leverage to achieve national security results.
In the dynamic of the denuclearization of North Korea, the projected Beijing narrative was Chairman Xi Jinping playing the role of magnanimous panda and *guiding* Chairman Kim Jong Un into the world of nations. This strategy was pure cunning; as it would look magnanimous to the world, but Xi would always retain control over Kim…
The Magnanimous Panda ploy was a false optic; and President Trump through direct contact with Chairman Kim knew it.
President Trump portrayed himself as buying-in to the Magnanimous Panda scheme of Chairman Xi. However, the unorthodox approach of having frequent contact and direct communication with Chairman Kim Jong-un muted Beijing’s control as puppeteer.
The Beijing central authority, while negotiating with President Trump over trade issues, did not initially realize that President Trump was also wearing a panda mask.
President Trump looked like he was being earnest, deliberate and patient; but in reality President Trump was achieving his goal. Here’s the ‘ah-ha’ moment.
….The current status with China was the final objective.
President Trump is not currently engaged in a substantive trade agreement in the formal way people are thinking about it. Instead “Phase-One” is simply President Trump negotiating the terms of a big Agricultural purchase commitment from Beijing, and also protecting some very specific U.S. business interests (think Apple Co.) in the process.
The actual goal of President Trump’s U.S-China trade reset is a complete decoupling of U.S. critical manufacturing within China. President Trump does not express angst, frustration, or even disappointment over the U.S-China trade discussions because the decoupling is well underway.
China is suffering a slow death by a thousand paper-cuts. The bleeding of cash in combination with the direct loss of $75 billion in annualized exported products that U.S. companies have now sourced from alternative ASEAN nations is biting hard.
The direct outcome is also a drop in China’s purchasing of industrial goods they would normally use in the manufacturing process. This lack of Chinese purchasing is one of the top reasons for the stall in the European economy.
Donald Trump spent 30-years openly advocating for the principle of restoring American wealth. That meant the economic pressure would continue until China was decoupled from influence over the U.S. economy.
President Trump used tariffs and threatened more consequential action as it relates to non-tariff barriers, IP protection, forced technology transfers etc as a result of China reneging on their May 2019 agreement.
Additionally, President Trump was openly engaged with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un throughout; telling the world North Korea was already no longer a threat, and muting the ability of Beijing to use DPRK aggression against the economic confrontation.
In hindsight every move since early 2017 including: (1) the warm welcome of Chairman Xi Jinping to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate; (2) the vociferous praise poured upon Xi; (3) the U.N. sanctions where China and Russia agreed; (4) the November 2017 “golden ticket’ tour of Asia; (5) the direct engagement with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un; (6) the strategic relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; and a host of smaller nuanced moves were all quietly building toward the goal of decoupling from China.
President Trump outmatched Chairman Xi in this economic confrontation by allowing Beijing to underestimate Trump’s resolve. While Chairman Xi thought he was outmaneuvering his rival, it was President Trump who was wearing the Panda mask all along.
There was always going to be a moment when China realized what was happening.
It was also predictable China would react to the realization by returning to their historic leverage against such economic confrontation.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Saturday that denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the United States and lengthy talks with Washington are not needed.
Ambassador Kim Song’s comment appeared to go further than North Korea’s earlier warning that discussions related to its nuclear weapons program, the central focus of U.S. engagement with North Korea in the past two years, might have to be taken off the table given Washington’s refusal to offer concessions.
“We do not need to have lengthy talks with the U.S. now and denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiating table,” he said in the statement made available to Reuters. (more)
On December 15th the next round of tariffs against China are likely to go into effect.
There will possibly be North Korean missile launches.
There will possibly be North Korean ICBM launches.
All of it is controlled by Beijing and all of the activity is in direct proportion to Chairman Xi realizing that President Trump is decoupling the U.S. from China.