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In government is threatening to.
The South Korea as we told -- that concern is deepening at the top of the hour North -- say that the peninsula it shares with South Korea is entering both.
A state of war and this comes after declarations by the north that its arsenal is aimed at the US.
Gordon Chang author of nuclear showdown North Korea takes on the world.
Is joining us now and down we thank you for joining us Gordon always great to see you.
I know that many people are very concerned about this latest.
Threat from the north but how serious is it at this point from your perspective.
It's serious and we should be concerned because these harsh words are coming at a time of disarray in the North Korean regime Kim -- on the new ruler has been in power for less than sixteen months he hasn't consolidated his position.
He's firing the officials who were loyal to his dad the previous ruler and he's even trying to change the nature of the regime itself.
And at no time Obama has in North Korean leader had a smaller base of support and Kim -- on Dennis has today so all of these threats he's backing himself into a corner he's inexperienced he doesn't know the consequences of what he's doing.
The window for violence is open.
Talk about the timing of this threat what do you see as it being as being significant this point.
Well North Korea always makes threats before the United States and South Korea begin their joint military drills each year at this time.
-- and they do it this year but most of the time North Korea goes silent afterwards.
This time the tantrum is continued and the warnings have become more dire they're much more intense and that means that something is different this year than in previous years that's why we need to have a more vigilant posture than in the past.
We -- something is different do you think and perhaps.
The young leader is simply trying to.
And -- where -- not his people that he is in charge and that he is not his father.
Well yeah I it's totally agree with that.
But the problem is that he may not know where the line is his father Kim Jong -- -- murder very effectively he murdered a number of South Koreans and Americans but he got away with it because he knew how far he could push the international community.
The problem is that Kim Jong-un has got to make himself appear even better than his dad.
And so he may miscalculate.
And that's the real problem right now -- that we just don't know about him and we don't know how.
Experienced he's going to be and things like this this is this is the reason why -- This is more dangerous than in the past -- in the US is is responding at this point so far.
What we're doing the right things I mean we're reassuring our South Korean allies with -- overflights of B fifty twos and B -- And we need to reassure the South -- so that they can exercise restraint.
But the other things that we need to do is we need to go talk to the Chinese and say you -- make a choice you can either be friends with us you can be friends with the north Koreans but you can't be friends with -- -- the same time.
And the other thing that we need to do is step up -- watch on North Korean shipments we don't want them selling ballistic missiles and nukes to Iran or -- to al-Qaeda.
You know this is not just a north major problem this has become a global one.
I mean you say that we need to talk to China and a very specific way that you're either friend or you're not I you're either way this or against us but China yet.
Hasn't so far ignored.
Any concerns from the United States at this point what makes you think that they're gonna go forward and really listen to what the US has to say about this.
Well there's a problem because there's also an incomplete leadership transition in China itself the military in Beijing has become more powerful.
And and so that's sort of undercuts the ability to work with China but nonetheless we have enormous leverage over the Chinese last year their merchandise trade surplus against the United States was a 136.
Point 3% of their overall merchandise trade surplus that means that they were running deficits with the rest of the world so they could run a surplus against us.
That gives us enormous leverage we need to try to use it.
Because even if we think that there's turmoil in Beijing and I believe that there is nonetheless this is so important to us that we've got to use every tool we have.
So you're saying when it comes right down to is all about the money for China.
Well it's all about the money.
But on the other hand -- you know things are going really bad in Beijing in terms of the politics within military becoming much more assertive.
Helping their North Korean allies selling them mobile missile launchers.
Always things that really make China on the other side then we really need to work with China but at the point.
We haven't been exercising the leverage that we have in the tools that are in our toolbox.
I'm so because these issues are so important we need to start really changing our approach to not only North Korea but China as well.
Gordon Chang always great to see you thank you so much for joining us.
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