‘China re­spon­si­bil­ity the­ory’ on NK has to stop

Global Times US Edition - - ASIANREVIEW - The ar­ti­cle is a com­men­tary of the Sat­ur­day Chi­nese edi­tion of the Global Times. opin­ion@ glob­al­times.com.cn

North Korea re­port­edly launched a new mis­sile on Fri­day night. South Korea claimed that the mis­sile trav­eled about 1,000 kilo­me­ters and reached an al­ti­tude of about 3,700 kilo­me­ters. The Pen­tagon be­lieves it was an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in on Sat­ur­day con­vened a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing and or­dered the de­ploy­ment of four more THAAD anti-mis­sile de­fense units.

It is ex­pected that the US and South Korea will re­quire the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to im­pose tougher sanc­tions on Py­ongyang. The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Don­ald Trump will ex­ert more pres­sure on China to help solve the nu­clear mis­sile is­sue and even carry out more rad­i­cal ac­tions to sanc­tion Chi­nese com­pa­nies.

The North Korean nu­clear is­sue is be­com­ing more se­vere and com­plex. North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties di­rectly pose a risk to China, and THAAD, a US strate­gic as­set, also poses new threats to China’s na­tional se­cu­rity. Si­noUS and Sino-South Korean re­la­tions have been be­lea­guered by the nu­clear is­sue. The sit­u­a­tion may con­tinue to spi­ral out of con­trol.

Py­ongyang, Wash­ing­ton and Seoul have no idea what will hap­pen next. North Korea blindly be­lieves that as long as it has in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles that can reach US soil, it can master its own destiny. The US be­lieves sup­pres­sion is the only way to pro­pel Py­ongyang to give up its nu­clear mis­siles.

Both North Korea and the US are hold­ing a firm stance, ren­der­ing China’s choices lim­ited. China is not able to stop North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties. Nor can it change the US pol­icy of sup­pres­sion and pre­vent the US and South Korea from de­ploy­ing THAAD.

But mean­while, China will not give up its goal of a de­nu­cle­arized Korean Penin­sula. As China fully im­ple­ments UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions, it should con­sider its na­tional in­ter­ests as a pri­or­ity and build up its de­ter­rence.

The top pri­or­ity for China is that North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties or any re­sult­ing mil­i­tary ac­tions by the US or South Korea should not con­tam­i­nate China’s north­east. This is the bot­tom line of China’s penin­sula pol­icy and China should make it clear to all sides.

China will never ever ac­cept the US de­ploy­ment of THAAD in South Korea. China will counter any mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment by the US that would threaten China. China should ac­cel­er­ate de­vel­op­ing its strate­gic nu­clear strike ca­pa­bil­i­ties. If THAAD could prompt the up­grade of China’s strate­gic nu­clear ca­pa­bil­i­ties, China will be the big­gest win­ner in this game.

China op­poses wars or chaos in the Korean Penin­sula, but a ver­bal ob­jec­tion is not enough. China must show its de­ter­mi­na­tion to op­pose the changes of the po­lit­i­cal land­scape in the Korean Penin­sula.

The the­ory of China be­ing re­spon­si­ble for North Korea’s nu­clear is­sue is pre­vail­ing. Some Chi­nese in­tel­lec­tu­als mis­tak­enly be­lieve that China is able to change North Korea’s be­hav­ior, which helped spread such ab­sur­dity.

Chi­nese so­ci­ety should reach a con­sen­sus on the North Korean nu­clear is­sue so as to bet­ter cope with the com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion. The au­thor­i­ties should guide this process, as the US and South Korean opin­ion has been ex­ert­ing its own logic on the is­sue.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu Rui/GT

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