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Sen. Lindsey Graham slams China over interfering in North Korea talks

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaking with attendees at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
July 10, 2018
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says that China is responsible for North Korea’s inconsistent rhetoric on cooperating with the U.S. to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea recently described talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “regrettable.” Analysts are concerned, as this is a departure from what was thought to be a thawing U.S.-DPRK relationship after President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met in Singapore in early June.

“I see China’s hands all over this. We are in a fight with China,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday. “We buy $500 billion worth of goods from the Chinese. They buy $100 billion from us. They cheat and President Trump wants to change the economic relationship with China.”

Graham speculated that China is attempting to use North Korea to its advantage to encourage the U.S. to ease off on its recent and upcoming tariffs.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the Chinese pulling the North Koreans back. So, if I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute. We’ve got more bullets than they do when it comes to trade,” Graham continued.

North Korea expressed its disapproval towards Pompeo’s demands at his most recent talks with officials there, and compared the Trump Administration to previous administrations.

“The attitude and demands from the U.S. side during the high-level talks were nothing short of deeply regrettable. The issues the U.S. side insisted on during the talks were the same cancerous ones that the past U.S. administrations had insisted on,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said.

Some experts think North Korea has adjusted its tone toward the U.S. as a negotiating tactic.

Graham also discussed Trump’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One of the major topics that will be discussed at their July meeting in Helsinki is a potential deal that would call for Syrian President Barshar al Assad to stay in power, while allowing the U.S. and its allies to secure the region to prevent ISIS from re-emerging.

“There is ideal to be had in Syria. Our troops in northeastern Syria working with the Syrian Democratic forces, Arabs and Kurds have demolished ISIS and if we stay there – we have about 2,000 troops – ISIS won’t come back. If we stay in northeastern Syria, Iran can’t march from Tehran to Beirut,” Graham said.

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