Stephen Yates, national security expert and chairman of the Idaho Republican party, ducked into the Freedom Hut to give Buck his take on the forthcoming meeting between President Trump and Xi Jinping this Thursday in Mar-a-Lago.
An ever-hopeful Buck asked about the “best first steps” Yates could see coming from such a meeting.
“This is an opportunity for the President to lay out his expectations on what needs to be done to deal with North Korea and how to recalibrate the economic situation in China. This is the beginning of a multi-stage conversation.”
“Is there a way to be both firm and constructive?” asked Buck.
“He is going to take an America-first approach to trade and investment,” Yates said. “When American companies are running into hardships selling things to China, he’s going to speak up about them. It’s an unfamiliar approach coming from American leaders.”
Buck inquired about “levers” available to Trump that can “exert pressure without being belligerent.”
“Enforcement capabilities,” said Yates. “We’ve had lax enforcement on export controls relevant to China, lax enforce on fees they’re supposed to pay when bringing goods into our country.”
“One of the executive orders that was released is looking at a trillion dollars of net value due to the United States that hasn’t come in through the enforcement mechanisms. Part of that is China, but it’s a big part. He can say, we’re going to be dead serious about enforcement of this.”
Turning the conversation to Yates’ foreign policy experience, Buck inquired what progress might be made on the situation in North Korea, which lately has been ramping up their own belligerence against America and South Korea.
“We have lived with a near-existential problem with North Korea just with the threat of proliferation. We’ve tempted fate. They don’t just need to launch a missile to hit the United States.”
“We can’t have perfect containment of North Korea,” admitted Yates. “So we need to be pressuring China to use its unique influence to change the course of things in North Korea. I don’t think a few conversations is going to make a difference, but I do think our allies are starting to get concerned, and are going to have to put on the table measures that we, together with our allies, would have to contemplate if China doesn’t mitigate this threat.”
Click above to hear the interview in full.