News / Asia

Will China Shift Its Stance on N. Korea?

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 12, 2013.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 12, 2013.
VOA News
Weeks of threats by North Korea against the South and the United States have provoked strong criticism from countries around the world. However, the response from Pyongyang's longtime ally China has been more nuanced.

During a recent phone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would not allow any troublemaker at its doorstep. Similar warnings came from Chinese president Xi Jinping who said that “no country should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.”

Neither comment specifically mentioned North Korea, reflecting Chinese officials' reluctance to criticize the North directly. But in state-backed media, the language has been more blunt.

A commentary on China's bilingual state newspaper, the Global Times, said on Friday that it is imperative for China to adjust its policy toward North Korea. However, the paper also said abandoning Pyongyang is not an option for Beijing's leaders.

“North Korea is not a chess piece for China,” the Chinese version read.

On Thursday, the same newspaper lashed out against North Korea's “hardline and deceptions,” saying Pyongyang's extremist posture is endangering regional peace.

The varying viewpoints in official newspapers hint at the internal debate and deep concern that leaders and the public have over a military confrontation on the Korean peninsula.

Wang Dong, director of the Center for Northeast Asian Strategic Studies at the School of International Relations at Beijing University, says China recognizes the risk brought about by North Korea's actions.

“We are at a very dangerous point, and any kind of miscalculation or accident might just lead to a disastrous war,” he said.

Wang said that although North Korea and China had a very special relationship in the past, that does not mean Beijing will tolerate more provocations.

“We have to think really seriously about whether North Korea has become a liability to our strategic interests, and personally I think that because of what North Korea has been doing in recent years, it has created increasingly more damage in China's strategic and security interests,” he said.

After North Korea conducted its third nuclear test last February, Beijing signed U.N. sanctions to stop investment to North Korea that might be used to develop nuclear weapons. But Chinese officials have been wary of taking further actions against a neighbor whose economy deeply relies on Beijing's investment and aid.

Bolder stances have come from Chinese scholars.

Earlier this year, Deng Yuwen, a prominent journalist at a Communist Party weekly, argued in a Financial Times essay that North Korea had become a liability and China should abandon it. Following the publication of the commentary, Deng was suspended from his post.

Wang Fan, a professor of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, acknowledges that there is divergence of opinion among his fellow North Korea observers over whether China's alliance with North Korea will in the long run serve Beijing's purposes.

But he said that especially in this moment of crisis, China cannot abandon its exchanges with North Korea.

“Exchanges do not mean at all that we accept North Korea's status as a nuclear country,” Wang said, “they do not mean at all that we believe that North Korea's actions right now are correct.”

Wang added that only by continuing contacts with North Korea can China influence the country to tone down its rhetoric and stop provocations.

But mounting pressure from the Chinese public might, in some analysts view, force Beijing's hand into rethinking their alliance with North Korea.

“[Among the Chinese public] there is a growing dissatisfaction and anger towards North Korea and what North Korea has been doing,” says Beijing University professor Wang Dong.

He says that in the long run, that public dissatisfaction could give confidence to Chinese leaders to adopt a new approach to North Korea.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid