North Korea: Who Cares Who’s President of the USA?
Apparently, North Korea doesn’t care who is the “Leader of the Free World.” A North Korean spokesperson at the United Nations claimed that the country doesn’t care about whoever becomes President of the United States. According to the spokesperson, their only concern is whether the United States has the “political will” to withdraw its hostilities towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
My guess, Donald Trump isn’t going to have “the will” that North Korea is hoping for. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have either, but Trump is far more likely to take an even more hard-lined stance.
Russian Relations With North Korea Could Cool
With Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin apparently already sharing a warm relationship and common goals in Syria and other hot spots, Russia may grow colder towards North Korea. With Russia looking for the easing of sanctions, North Korea could become a bargaining chip, and one that that Putin would be willing to sell for cheap.
Relations between North Korea and Russia have steadily declined since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the two countries have remained on relatively good terms. After Kim Jong-Un assumed leadership of the DPRK, Russia went as far as to forgive about $10 billion dollars worth of the country’s debt. A remaining $1 billion dollars in debt will be paid to Russia, which will then reinvest it in North Korea.
Further, Russia and North Korea actually share a small border and train crossing station. Russia has been among the chief providers of trade and humanitarian aid, and the two countries have discussed economic cooperation zones. In May of 2016, Russia’s Central Bank did order all transactions with DPRK organizations on the United Nation’s sanctions list following the country’s fourth nuclear test.
Either way, Russia remains among the few “friends” North Korea has in the world. But with Trump and Putin growing closer, that friendliness could quickly cool.
North Korea’s Closest Ally Could Face Pressure
Finally, with Trump threatening China with tariffs, he might even be able to pressure the Chinese to reduce their support and assistance towards North Korea. The Chinese have long been North Korea’s closest ally. When North Korean forces were on the verge of being overwhelmed by United Nations (primarily American) forces, it was the Chinese that push back the onslaught, and forced a stalemate.
The vast majority of trade with and investment in North Korea also comes from China. In the past, China has provided North Korea with unconditional food aid during times of famine, and huge amounts of other aid and investments. China is also, by far, North Korea’s largest trading partner, receiving about one quarter of the country’s exports and providing about half of its imports. At the United Nations, China has been one of the few major countries to ever side with the DPRK.
Relations between the two countries have been steadily declining over the past several years. Now, Trump may be able to force China to restrict relations and assistance even more. If the Chinese were to turn their back on North Korea, it could spell serious trouble for the already troubled nation.