Is breakthrough likely on NK nuke issue?

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/1 23:53:39

US President Donald Trump recently commended China for "helping" the US in preventing North Korea from developing nuclear and missile technologies. He told CBS News that Beijing is working to try and resolve a very big problem and that is "worth making not as good a trade deal" for the US.

It is rare that a US president praises China in such a high profile way. Although it may not mean a substantial change to Trump's China policies, the White House's public pro-China statement and its stress on Sino-US commonalities would bring a more positive impact than if the US leadership highlights bilateral divergences and frictions.

One reason for Trump's goodwill gesture toward Beijing is probably because he really needs China's help over the North Korean nuclear issue. He may even want China to shoulder more responsibilities and exert the most pressure it can on Pyongyang. He once said to the media that the issue is also China's problem.

China and the US have different perspectives on the North Korean nuclear issue, and so are their approaches to solve this conundrum. Both hope the other could come across to their side and undertake more responsibilities.

That China strictly implements UN Security Council resolutions to sanction North Korea has played a role. But China's efforts alone cannot fundamentally solve North Korea's nuclear issue. The crux of the issue is the conflict between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear and long-range missile technologies is driven by insecurity about its regime. It is trying to avoid becoming the next target to topple after Iraq and Libya. The US must address Pyongyang's strategic unease.

Communication is needed for both sides to understand each other's interests and logic. After the Mar-a-Lago meeting, Washington and Beijing reached consensus on opposing North Korea developing nuclear and missile technologies. It is a good thing.

The sensitive time of April has passed. North Korea did not conduct a sixth nuclear test and the frequency and scale of its missile launches are not that significant, which can be attributed to cooperation between China and the US.

But the open statements from the US reveal that Washington hopes China can shoulder all the responsibilities for solving Pyongyang's nuclear issue. It believes that Pyongyang giving up its nuclear ambitions depends on whether Beijing imposes enough pressure. This way of thinking must be corrected.

Washington, while not placing too many expectations on China, must also continue to exert its own efforts on the issue. Trump should not take all his advice from some so-called strategists and be misled about the situation.

Many believed the situation on the Korean Peninsula would worsen in April, which did not take place. This may be a turning point.

The US should seize this chance to carry out more coordination and cooperation with China and avoid hyping up the divergences. If Washington works in the same direction as Beijing, a major breakthrough on the issue will be in sight.

We have noticed that Washington is showing certain flexibilities in its statements recently. Although difficult to implement, it is worth trying to be flexible in practice.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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