Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) directed President Obama to "stop protecting China" in order to more effectively respond to hostile actions from North Korea.
Cruz, a presidential candidate, penned the letter to Obama Wednesday to express concern with his policy of "strategic patience" toward North Korea. Earlier, the Texas senator announced that he would vote in favor of legislation that would impose nuclear weapons-related sanctions in North Korea, which is expected to gain passage in the Senate.
Cruz outlined several means of more effectively responding to aggressive actions from North Korea, which over the weekend launched a long-range rocket and purportedly conducted its fourth nuclear test in recent weeks in defiance of international sanctions. In the letter, Cruz asked Obama to acknowledge that China is no longer the United States’ "partner" in denuclearizing North Korea.
"Lax enforcement of U.S. laws have made China complacent in policing the illicit financing of regimes like North Korea and Iran, thus becoming complicit in their proliferation. China has enabled DPRK arms shipments to Iran to travel unimpeded through Chinese ports and airspace," Cruz wrote, using an abbreviation for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
"It has facilitated the shipment of chemical reagents and protective suits from North Korea to Syria. It has allowed transfer of arms-related material to Syria."
Cruz also proposed fully enforcing U.S. laws, rebuilding the Navy, and deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit to more effectively protect U.S. troops and defend South Korea as ways to respond to the North Korean aggression.
Cruz argued that North Korea should be re-designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing the November 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment that the FBI concluded was orchestrated by Pyongyang, in addition to other threats.
"The regime in Pyongyang has not only issued explicit threats against American citizens, but there is also documented evidence that North Korea has shipped arms to Iran. Three intercepted vessels bound for Iran in July 2009 contained North Korean weapons that Western intelligence and Israeli intelligence officials and non-government experts believe were bound for Hezbollah and Hamas," Cruz wrote.
He emphasized the need for America to "lead from a position of strength."
"Your administration has, for too long, hoped to achieve denuclearization through failed diplomacy and limited sanctions," Cruz wrote Obama.
On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that North Korea had made good on a promise to expand its Yongbyon nuclear enrichment facility and restarted a plutonium reactor that could recover spent fuel within weeks.