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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid