WASHINGTON – China is more of an adversary than an ally on North Korea, according to a leading Republican senator and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump who declared during a wide-ranging interview Thursday that Pyongyang’s push for an atomic arsenal actually benefits Beijing.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas told The Associated Press the U.S. should expand its military presence on and around the Korean Peninsula to pressure China into being a serious partner in the campaign to defuse North Korea’s nuclear program. He said the Defense Department should move the families of American military personnel out of South Korea as North Korea pushes the U.S. closer to a military conflict.
Cotton, a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, also said U.S. allies in Europe have their “head in the sand” on the Iran nuclear deal. They need to realize that Trump will pull the U.S. out of the landmark accord unless they agree to his demand for changes aimed at making the pact more stringent, he said.
Cotton said Chinese diplomats are lying when they tell their Western counterparts that Beijing shares their goal of convincing North Korea to abandon its advancing nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang last week test fired a long-range ballistic missile that experts said could hit Washington.
A nuclear-capable North Korea draws attention away from Beijing’s misbehavior that includes “economic warfare” against the U.S., island building in the disputed South China Sea, and its…