Looming Trade War Could Hurt US-China Cooperation On North Korea

A brewing trade war between the U.S. and China could interfere with the latest attempt at diplomacy with North Korea.

Looming Trade War Could Hurt US-China Cooperation On North Korea
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It seems like it's getting harder and harder to keep the ongoing nuclear talks with North Korea from getting caught up in a brewing trade war between the U.S. and China.

Case in point: The White House threatened China with another round of punitive tariffs — right before Chinese President Xi Jinping met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim's visit shows China is still a critical player in North Korean diplomacy. North Korea wants China's help in easing the heavy international sanctions draining the North Korean economy, and Beijing has supported the idea.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed that China was committed to working with the U.S. on sanctions last week. But China might be less eager to work with Pompeo after his comments this week about China's economy.

Pompeo said, "Let's be clear: It's the most predatory economic government that operates against the rest of the world today."

The U.S. is now compiling a list of $200 billion in Chinese imports to tax at 10 percent. That's after China and the U.S. both levied a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of goods.

The White House is targeting China's Made in China 2025 program, which aims to restructure China's economy to focus on high-tech manufacturing. The White House has labeled that program a national security threat and accused China of using underhanded tactics to pursue it.

So far, the two issues have been kept pretty much separate. But if trade relations get worse, it could be much less politically appealing for the U.S. and China to collaborate on North Korea.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.