May Kore­ans live in peace

It has be­come more adamant be­cause it sees the shows as threats to its sur­vival and se­cu­rity. In a tit for tat, it has an­nounced com­bat-readi­ness.

The Pak Banker - - Editorial - Wang Sheng

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil failed to reach a con­sen­sus on the cri­sis of the Korean Penin­sula on Sun­day. A day later, the Re­pub­lic of Korea (ROK) be­gan a live-fir­ing drill near the border of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple's Re­pub­lic of Korea ( DPRK), ig­nor­ing the lat­ter's warn­ing of coun­ter­at­tack.

Ten­sion has been pal­pa­ble on the Korean Penin­sula since the DPRK and the ROK ex­changed fire on Nov 23. The two sides have en­gaged in skir­mishes be­fore but none reached such a level and caused even half as much worry. So what is dif­fer­ent this time?

Be­sides the dif­fer­ences in the do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tions in the DPRK and the ROK, the great­est cause of con­cern is the shift in United States' strat­egy to Asia Pa­cific.

A se­ries of large-scale USROK and US-Ja­pan mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in the wa­ters around the Korean Penin­sula has strength­ened US mil­i­tary pres­ence and ag­gra­vated ten­sions in North­east Asia. The joint mil­i­tary drills have had the op­po­site ef­fect on the DPRK. It has be­come more adamant be­cause it sees the shows as threats to its sur­vival and se­cu­rity. In a tit for tat, it has an­nounced com­bat-readi­ness.

The ROK troops held naval drills in 29 places close to the dis- puted mar­itime border in the Yel­low Sea on Dec 6. They held an­other round of ma­neu­vers at 27 places in the Yel­low Sea's east­ern, western and south­ern wa­ters from Dec 13 to 17. Be­fore Mon­day's drills the ROK's mil­i­tary said it will "im­me­di­ately and sternly" deal with any provo­ca­tion.

The US and the ROK are ad­just­ing their joint mil­i­tary plans ac­cord­ing to the de­vel­op­ments on the Korean Penin­sula, ig­nor­ing the DPRK's warn­ing that the drills are height­en­ing ten­sions on the penin­sula. The ex­change of fire and ris­ing ten­sions on the penin­sula have in­creased the risk of a full-fledged war, which could break out if the sit­u­a­tion is al­lowed to spi­ral out of con­trol. In fact, a war could have bro­ken out had China not launched an all-out cam­paign to defuse ten­sions on the penin­sula. De­vel­op­ments on the Korean Penin­sula af­fect China in more ways than one. If a war breaks out on the penin­sula, China's north­east re­gion will come un­der di­rect threat, cre­at­ing enor­mous pres­sure on the coun­try, and dam­age its strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment. It will threaten China's peace­ful devel­op­ment, es­pe­cially the plan for the eco­nomic re­ju­ve­na­tion of its northeastern re­gion. Mount­ing mil­i­tary pres­sure along the border will com­pel China to re­in­force its strength in border ar­eas to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity.

To ease ten­sions on the Korean Penin­sula, in fact the whole of North­east Asia, China views the over­all de­vel­op­ments from a strate­gic per­spec­tive and has made all-out ef­forts to re­store peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. It urges rel­e­vant par­ties to ex­er­cise calm and re­frain from tak­ing ac­tions that could worsen the sit­u­a­tion and ap­peals to them to re­solve the DPRK nu­clear is­sue through peace­ful talks.

Dur­ing his meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow late last month, Premier Wen Ji­abao called on all sides to ex­er­cise "max­i­mum re­straint" and said China is op­posed to mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion in any form. State Coun­cilor Dai Bing­guo met with ROK Pres­i­dent Lee Myung-bak on Nov 28 in Seoul and said that all rel­e­vant par­ties should make con­certed ef­forts to cre­ate con­di­tions for the re­sump­tion of the Six­Party Talks. In early De­cem­ber, the Chi­nese govern­ment pro­posed emer­gency con­sul­ta­tions among the heads of del­e­ga­tion to the Six­Party Talks. The con­struc­tive pro­posal played an im­por­tant role in eas­ing ten­sions.

But in­stead of ac­cept­ing Bei­jing's pro­posal, the meet­ing of the for­eign min­is­ters of the ROK and Ja­pan and the US sec­re­tary of state in Washington on Dec 6 con­demned the DPRK and asked China to join them in deal­ing with is­sues re­lat­ing to the Korean Penin­sula.

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