Beijing’s balancing act over North Korea


To placate the United States and signal displeasure with North Korea, China voted for the latest sanctions even as it insisted on watering them down to let Kim Jong-un know that China will not let him fall. Beijing does not believe that sanctions will force the North Korean leader to surrender his weapons. It wants Washington to talk to Pyongyang. And it wants Pyongyang to stop nuclear and missile tests.


In the photo below, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gets briefing on a nuclear weapons program.

“China will never allow chaos and war on the [Korean] peninsula,” said Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, as he called for nations to respond to its joint proposal with Russia that North Korea stop its military actions in return for the US stopping military exercises with South Korea. With US President Donald Trump laying the task of containing Mr Kim on China’s doorstep, tweeting about how little success Beijing has had in reining in North Korea, another Chinese state-controlled media outlet, the Global Times newspaper, said that fewer promises of “fire and fury” threats from Mr Trump were key.“Pyongyang’s frequent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and its sixth nuclear test have obviously shocked the US,” the newspaper said.


The last war on the Korean peninsula pitted the US against China at a cost of millions of military and civilian lives. Unilateral pre-emptive military action by the US would risk conflict with China again. Despite deep frustration with Kim Jong-un, North Korea is a Chinese neighbour and ally, a fellow Leninist state with a shared victim narrative about the past and a shared ambition for the future to remove the US presence in North East Asia.

Is Beijing still key to containing North Korean threat? Watch this video below.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the center of the photo.

“This will add to North Korea’s state of alert and its determination to complete its nuclear and missile technology research. A sense of military urgency will prevail between North Korea and the US and South Korea, which may brew a hotbed which causes a fatal strategic misjudgement.” Mr Xi will have hated the timing of the latest step on Mr Kim’s road to helming full nuclear capability, as much as the tough talk it drew from the US. But North Korea’s collapse – due to war or China crippling the country’s supply chains – will likely remain almost as unthinkable for him as it did before Sunday.


In this video below, Beijing urges parties to stay ‘cool-headed’ over Korea issue.

But Beijing does not see sanctions as a route to greater security on the Korean peninsula.
Already China has risked its previously burgeoning relationship with Seoul to punish it for deploying an American anti-missile system known as Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence). Even now Beijing fails to exploit the cracks that have emerged between President Donald Trump and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in because of its loathing for Thaad.
With India, Russia and Pakistan already nuclear powers, not to mention the US, China may end up with more nuclear armed neighbours than any other country in the world.


Here is more from twitter on this story.

Indeed, war between North Korea and the US plus its allies would be disastrous for all involved in terms of lives lost, but China believes it has the most to lose politically. The collapse of the Kim dictatorship would cause millions of North Korean refugees to flee to China, and US troops could be based in a reunified Korea bordering China: something Mr Xi would not tolerate.




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