Graham Blames China for North Korea’s Change of Heart on Denuclearization

By Melanie Arter | July 9, 2018 | 10:35 AM EDT

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Screenshot)

( – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” that China is to blame for North Korea’s change of heart on denuclearization, adding that China is using North Korea to get back at the U.S. for President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

“I see China's hands all over this. We’re in a fight with China. We buy $500 billion worth of goods from the Chinese. They buy $100 billion from us. They cheat, and President Trump wants to change the economic relationship with China,” Graham said.


“So, if I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute. We've got more bullets than they do when it comes to trade. We sell them $100 billion, they sell us $500 billion. We can hurt them more than they will hurt us, and all we're looking for is for them to stop cheating when it comes to trade,” he said.

Graham said he has “no doubt” that the Chinese are pulling the North Koreans back.

“And to our North Korean friends - can't say the word friend yet - you asked Pompeo, did he sleep well? If you knew what I knew about what we could do to the leadership of North Korea, you wouldn't sleep very well,” said Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I actually really enjoyed reading about that exchange where the North Korean general’s asking Mike Pompeo twice, surely you couldn't have slept well last night and our secretary of state said, oh, I slept just fine,” Fox News host Dana Perino said.

“Meanwhile, President Trump will meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next Monday. Bloomberg reports the Kremlin is working with the U.S. to have a deal that the president will accept. They say Putin has agreed in principle to U.S. and Israeli demands that Iranian-backed forces in southern Syria be kept away from Israel's border, replaced with troops loyal to the government and Damascus. That's according to two Kremlin advisers. Would you recommend the president agreed to that deal?” she asked.

“Given Russia's behavior, absolutely not. Russia was supposed to make sure that Assad had no chemical weapons. The last thing you can rely upon is the Russians to take care of American-Israeli interests. There is a deal to be had in Syria,” Graham said.

“Our troops in northeastern Syria working with the Syrian Democratic forces, Arabs and Kurds, have demolished ISIS, and if we stay there - we have about 2,000 troops -ISIS won't come back. If we stay in northeastern Syria, Iran can't march from Tehran to Beirut,” he said.

“I don't trust the Russians to implement any agreement when it comes to the Iranians, but there is a way to break … Russia away from Iran, but no way can it be achieved without us staying there. Our presence in northeastern Syria is an insurance policy against Assad taking over Syria and ISIS coming back and the Iranians owning the whole region,” Graham added.


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