China could control North Korea's regime but doesn't see the need to do so – at least not yet, says a U.S. senator.
"China could bring the North Korea regime to its knees," Sen. Roger Wicker told American Family Radio this week, just days after the regime fired an ICBM that landed in Japan's territorial waters after an impressive flight into space before re-entry.
The test-fired missile is a Hwasong-15 that is an updated version of an earlier missile, which suggests North Korea has improved its ability to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, 38 North, a website that monitors and analyzes North Korea, reported after the launch.
While it's true that China could intervene, Wicker further said, allowing Kim Jong-un to flaunt the United States gives China "leverage" with the U.S. and other countries who need its help.
What worsens that situation, Wicker went on to say, is that China remains an adversary of the United States and its allies because it wants to dominate the Pacific Ocean.
Wicker, who serves on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, made his comments on the AFR morning show "Today's Issues."
Wicker was making his comments at almost the same time that Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was warning China that it must cut off its remaining oil shipments to North Korea.
"China can do this on its own," Haley said in a speech at the UN, "or we can take the oil situation into our own hands."
Reporting on Haley's speech, CNBC reported that President Donald Trump called China's president Wednesday morning – corresponding with Haley's speech - to tell him the time had come to stop the shipments.
China has claimed it reduced shipments of refined petroleum beginning in September but continues to send crude oil into North Korea.
What the Chinese must do, and do soon, is remove their "puppet" in North Korea, says Frank Gaffney, a national security analyst who served in the Reagan administration and now heads the Center for Security Policy.
"And I think that they should have a clear understanding," says Gaffney, "that the cost the Chinese will face will rise inexorably, and quite acutely, if they don't take that step."