Washington Post: Was North Korea Behind the Trump-Duterte Phonecall?

Can Trump count on Manila to put pressure on North Korea? 3 points to know.

Washington Post (Monkey Cage Blog), 16 May 2017

President Trump raised eyebrows in late April with a phone call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte — and an invitation for Duterte to visit the White House. After Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that these were necessary steps to pressure North Korea, commenters and former officials were quick to dismiss his explanation.

These dismissals miss an important point. The Philippines is one of North Korea’s few remaining non-China trade partners and has been a significant site of DPRK illicit operations, which generate hard currency to sustain the regime and its weapons programs.

Closing off these operations and the funds they supply would put increased international pressure on North Korea, in response to its recent nuclear and missile tests and latest inflammatory propaganda.

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