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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
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.

AppleAndroid