NK state media's broadside won’t impact China policy

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/23 23:53:39

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a commentary on Friday criticizing China, although without naming it, for "dancing to the tune of" the US' North Korean policy. Some emotional statements in the article expressed Pyongyang's determination to go down the nuclear path. The most provocative sentence that attracted worldwide attention in the commentary is that "if the country keeps applying economic sanctions on the DPRK … it should get itself ready to face the catastrophic consequences in the relations with the DPRK."

This is the second time North Korean state media has criticized Beijing without mentioning names. On February 23, KCNA published a critique accusing China's "mean behavior" for "totally blocking foreign trade related to the improvement of people's living standard," which is "tantamount to the enemies' moves to bring down the social system in the DPRK."

KCNA's latest broadside followed the same pattern of its critique two months ago, which not only vented its dissatisfaction toward Beijing's action of imposing sanctions against Pyongyang by following the UN Security Council resolution, but also conveyed North Korea's will to keep going its own way on nuclear and missile tests. It attempted to pile pressure on China, trying to influence Beijing's future attitude toward Pyongyang's next nuclear activity.

However, such a move will not have any effect apart from further isolating Pyongyang itself. If North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test, Beijing will undoubtedly support the UN in adopting tougher sanctions against it, including oil embargo, although its sanctions will not target the North Korean people or regime. As long as Pyongyang stops its nuclear program, the Sino-North Korean relationship can be restored to its normal status.

No matter how many articles KCNA publishes, whatever future measures North Korea takes, Beijing's stance will not be affected.

Perhaps Pyongyang needs to revise its understanding that North Korea is a sentinel and on guard duty for China, therefore, whatever it does, Beijing has no other alternative except to endorse Pyongyang. If North Korea really thinks this, it is making a mistake. Its nuclear program has severely impacted peace and stability in Northeast Asia, jeopardizing China's major national interests. Preventing Pyongyang from continuing to develop nuclear weapons has already become Beijing's priority in its Northeast Asian policies.

The fundamental problem in the North Korean nuclear crisis is the contradictions between North Korea and the US. China does not have the key to resolve it. Beijing has made its contributions by strictly following the resolutions of the UN Security Council. Washington and Seoul must also make joint efforts with China to let Pyongyang see that it can still safeguard its country and regime without nuclear weapons.

Although North Korea is subject to international sanctions, Pyongyang is not the only one to have caused tension on the Korean Peninsula. Washington should also reflect on its wrongdoing. US President Donald Trump always said that the White House's previous North Korean policy was a mistake, but what he is doing now is no different from his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump won't reach the right destination if he only changes a pair of shoes while continuing along the same old path.



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