Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday on multiple issues. Much of the debriefing to the Senate revolved around Secretary Pompeo’s contacts and coordination with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.
The testimony is interesting for those who are following the DPRK issues. During many of the exchanges Secretary Pompeo clarifies his certainty that Kim Jong-un fully understood the U.S. position surrounding denuclearization; and for several weeks was progressing toward the June 12 summit with clarity of outcome between the U.S. and North Korea.
Then something happened…
[Watch the Briefing HERE] Secretary Pompeo’s briefing when overlaid with the timing of the first U.S. trade delegation to China (May 2-5); and then the second trip by Chairman Kim to Beijing (May 8); highlights the connectivity of Chairman Xi Jinping instructing Chairman Kim to change his approach publicly in order to provide China with leverage in the U.S./China trade summit which took place shortly thereafter (May 15-18).
As noted by President Donald Trump during his Oval Office remarks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the specifically scheming and cunning influence by Chairman Xi, what we customarily call ‘Red-Dragon-China‘, was -and is- accepted by President Trump as evidence of Beijing’s manipulative intent.
This is an important tonal shift to note because U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross just announced he is heading to China. Secretary Ross will visit China from June 2 to June 4, the official Xinhua news agency reported, and you can be certain that President Trump has just unleashed the “killer” side of Wilbur Ross.
Ross will visit China from June 2 to June 4, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, adding that Vice Premier Liu He, China’s chief negotiator in the trade dispute, had spoken with Ross over the phone. It gave no further details.
The trade dispute took on added complexity this week when U.S. President Donald Trump announced a national security investigation into imports of cars and trucks, a probe that could lead to tariffs against China as well as key U.S. allies such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Germany. (link)
President Trump is not sending a “trade delegation” to Beijing, he is sending ONLY Secretary Ross. This is where ‘stuff‘ is fixin’ to get very serious. Wolverine Ross will likely be prepared to rip the bamboo forest to shreds. Don’t expect any firm or final decision on a change of heart for the June 12th U.S./DPRK summit in Singapore until after Secretary Ross reports back to President Trump.
How Important? Remember, the 2018 G7 summit is taking place in Charlevoix, Quebec on June 8th and 9th.
In the days leading up to the heads of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States meeting, there are ministerial sessions with the Secretaries of each nation taking place. The finance and commerce ministerial sessions are scheduled May 31st through June 2nd in Whistler, British Columbia.
Normally Secretary Ross would join Treasury Secretary Mnuchin at these ministerial meetings. Every economic and finance minister is going to want to talk to the U.S. economic team about the status of the steel and aluminum tariff exemptions. [Currently extended 30 days – expiring June 1st]. However, as noted Ross is going to China instead.
This helps to understand how significant the economic aspects of the Trump Doctrine are to the geopolitical engagements with North Korea.
Chairman Xi has made a strategic decision in his adversarial approach toward President Trump. Again, listen to the briefing by Secretary Pompeo – Panda China is telling him they too want to see peace, Korean stability and denuclearization. However, Dragon China is using the panda mask, and simultaneously leveraging Chairman Kim to aid their trade objectives.
Beijing has made a fatal mistake; they have exposed too much dragon face and did not expect President Trump to call them out on it publicly.
Secretary Ross now heads to China with •Steel and Aluminum tariffs; •auto-sector 232 evaluations; •intellectual property penalties; •over $150 billion in additional trade sanctions/tariffs pending; •and financial sanctions against Chinese banks as economic arrows in his dragon slaying quiver.
Don’t doubt for a minute that based on Chairman Xi’s maneuver with Chairman Kim, Wolverine Ross is not about to fire one -or several- of those arrows directly into the heart of Beijing.
Chairman Xi made a strategic mistake. Xi genuinely has no idea the level of hurt President Trump is looking for an excuse to deliver. Things are fixing to get ‘Old-School’.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.”…