An interesting analysis of China’s current role vis a vis North Korea, the article suggests that unusually hostile statements by a deputy editor of the journal of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China and others responsive to its recent nuclear test must be taken with grains of salt.
The nuclear test must have strained China’s relations with North Korea, given that China has long championed a denuclearised Korean peninsula. But few would believe that China will abandon such a longtime ally as North Korea. One indication that China will stay the course, at least for some time to come, is that it recently voiced opposition to any strong UN sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear test.
A spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said a UN response to the nuclear test must be considerate and appropriate. In other words, he was saying China would not support any of the stern measures pursued by South Korea and the US.
As noted here,
With the China- and U.S.-drafted resolution to sanction North Korea approved, the top priority now is to “bring down the heat” on North Korea and focus on diplomacy to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, says China’s ambassador to the United Nations.
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Immediately before the vote, an unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said North Korea will exercise its right for “a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors” because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.
Although the North Korean challenge was likely intended principally for domestic consumption, it does not suggest any new openness to international diplomacy.
China did join other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving toughened sanctions. However, China has in the past evaded sanctions on the luxury goods beneficial to influential members of the Kim Regency.
China appears to be re-evaluating relations with North Korea during its leadership transition to Xi Jinping – undoubtedly a backlash for North Korea’s February nuclear test. Indications in this regard include debates between China’s foreign policy experts on North Korea’s geopolitical value to China.
One of the latest among them is a contribution to the Financial Times by Deng Yuwen, deputy editor of Study Times, the journal of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. It was provocatively headlined: “China Should Abandon North Korea”.
The writer maintained, among other things, that an interstate relationship based on ideology alone, such as the one between China and North Korea, is dangerous; that North Korea has outlived its value as a geopolitical ally; and that the capricious North Korean regime’s potential nuclear blackmail of China could not be ruled out. He said a “nuclear-armed North Korea could try to…
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