WASHINGTON – Top officials from the Treasury Department and State Department struggled Thursday to convince senators on the banking committee that the Chinese government was fully cooperating with the United States in their interests to denuclearize North Korea.
Susan A. Thornton, acting assistant secretary for State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs that China prioritizes the denuclearization of North Korea. “China’s main goal is to denuclearize and rid North Korea of their programs,” she said.
“If that’s true,” North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said, “then why hasn’t the Chinese government exerted the kind of authority and force on a diplomatic and sanction regime that would achieve that result? I’m talking about full on maximum effort, maximum restrictions on trade, maximum restrictions on doing business with North Korea.”
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