It has grown apparent in recent months that the United States and China, while working to present a fairly unified front on the face of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, suffer from a lack of common ground when it comes to strategy in dealing with Kim’s regime. American diplomats and defense officials have repeatedly called on China to increase the pressure it levies on the reclusive North Korean state, as China is the only nation on the planet with sufficient leverage to truly make Kim sweat. China, for their part, have accused the United States of exacerbating tensions in the region through a broad military presence.
Despite the setbacks caused by the two Pacific powers failing to see eye to eye in their approach to North Korea, China released a “consensus document” over the weekend that establishes concrete, and common, goals the U.S. shares with China – an important step toward finding a unified, or at least less divided, route toward a denuclearized Kim regime.
The document, which was released by China’s state-owned media outlet Xinhua news agency, states that “Both sides reaffirm that they will strive for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Those three words, “complete, verifiable, and irreversible,” lay a foundation for what can be considered the terms by which international pressure, particularly as levied by America and China, could be reduced on Kim’s North Korean state. The U.S. and many other countries have sanctions in place that have stifled North Korea’s economy, producing what many in the West hope is enough hardship to convince the state’s Supreme Leader to do away with his nuclear pursuits.