In Debate, Trump Casually Suggests China Should Invade North Korea

Beijing should "solve that problem for us," according to the Republican presidential nominee.
This guy wouldn't be too happy about that.
This guy wouldn't be too happy about that.

China should invade North Korea and “solve that problem for us,” Republican nominee Donald Trump said during Monday night’s presidential debate.

“China should go into North Korea,” Trump said. “China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.”

Trump is right to suggest that China has some influence over the actions of the North Korean government. But fact-checkers have previously criticized him for overstating China’s power in that country.

Even someone with Trump’s vaunted negotiating skills might find it difficult to convince Beijing to invade. As Politifact reported in January, “China has worried ― with reason, experts say ― that pushing so hard that the current North Korean regime collapses would lead to a humanitarian disaster on its border.”

China is “reluctant to exercise its leverage” over North Korea, Stephan Haggard, a North Korea expert at the University of California, San Diego, told the site, because it fears “possible effects of an economic breakdown on its border and an outflow of refugees.” 

An invasion would create an even more significant humanitarian crisis — and bigger problems for Beijing. It would also almost certainly lead to heightened tensions between China and South Korea, a staunch U.S. ally. Given that, it’s safe to conclude that a Chinese invasion of North Korea is extremely unlikely. Beijing won’t be solving that problem “for us,” no matter who’s president.

North Korea’s state-run media has described Trump as a “wise politician,” a “prescient presidential candidate” and the right man for Americans to elect this November.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.