China bears heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity for weak­en­ing pres­sure on North Korea

The Myanmar Times - - News -

IT is vital for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to in­crease pres­sure in uni­son on North Korea to pre­vent it from mak­ing mil­i­tary provo­ca­tions. China should not break this en­cir­clement be­cause of self-serv­ing rea­sons.

The United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has stopped short of is­su­ing a state­ment con­demn­ing North Korea’s fir­ing of what are be­lieved to be Rodong bal­lis­tic mis­siles to­ward the Sea of Ja­pan ear­lier this month.

The UNSC talks broke down be­cause China sought to in­clude in the state­ment, drafted mainly by Ja­pan and the United States, word­ing that warns against the United States’ planned de­ploy­ment of a Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense (THAAD) – its most ad­vanced mis­sile de­fense sys­tem – at its mil­i­tary base in South Korea.

North Korea’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches also vi­o­late UNSC sanc­tions res­o­lu­tions. This is es­pe­cially the case with the lat­est launch, in which a mis­sile fired by Py­ongyang fell into wa­ters in­side Ja­pan’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone for the first time. This is an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous provo­ca­tion.

Se­ri­ous alarm has been raised over the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, which has be­come dys­func­tional. If its fail­ure to is­sue a state­ment of con­dem­na­tion sends North Korea the wrong mes­sage, the coun­try could con­duct fur­ther provo­ca­tions. This is a se­vere sit­u­a­tion for Ja­pan.

China’s stance of plac­ing higher pri­or­ity on op­pos­ing the THAAD de­ploy­ment than on de­ter­ring North Korea’s provo­ca­tions is alarm­ing. Since the United States and South Korea agreed on the de­ploy­ment in July, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has failed to adopt a state­ment of con­dem­na­tion about North Korea’s se­ries of bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches.

China has claimed that the de­ploy­ment would un­der­mine the se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of coun­tries in the re­gion, in­clud­ing it­self. It ap­par­ently fears its mil­i­tary’s move­ments would be the sub­ject of sur­veil­lance by THAAD radars. Rus­sia also op­poses the de­ploy­ment.

We sus­pect China’s hes­i­tance to im­pose sanc­tions that could desta­bilise North Korea’s regime is the ma­jor rea­son be­hind Py­ongyang’s nu­clear and mis­sile de­vel­op­ment.

The aim of the THAAD de­ploy­ment is to re­spond to North Korea’s grow­ing threats. China’s back­lash, in which it says this would in­crease re­gional ten­sions, is mis­di­rected.

It is also con­cern­ing that on the eco­nomic front, China – which has served as an eco­nomic life­line for North Korea – has made moves to fur­ther wa­ter down the sanc­tion mea­sures.

Fol­low­ing the UN sanc­tions res­o­lu­tion adopted in March af­ter Py­ongyang con­ducted a nu­clear test and made other provo­ca­tions, trade be­tween China and North Korea re­bounded in June. Bi­lat­eral eco­nomic ex­changes have also re­port­edly in­creased.

As a UNSC per­ma­nent mem­ber, China must not for­get that it has a duty to en­sure the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of North Korea sanc­tions res­o­lu­tions, which call for Py­ongyang to aban­don its nu­clear and mis­sile de­vel­op­ment.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has started tak­ing mea­sures against South Korea as a re­sult of its ap­proval of the THAAD de­ploy­ment. Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have tight­ened rules for is­su­ing busi­ness visas to South Kore­ans. An event for fans of South Korean TV dra­mas sched­uled to be held in Bei­jing was also can­celled.

China ap­par­ently aims to shake the ad­min­is­tra­tion of South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye and break the unity of Ja­pan, the United States and South Korea.

Close co­op­er­a­tion among the three coun­tries is vital for re­gional sta­bil­ity.

– The Ja­pan News/Yomi­uri

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