This undated image grab taken from footage shown by North Korea's KCTV and released by South Korea's Yonhap news agency on Monday shows Jang Song-thaek (center) reportedly being dragged from his chair during a meeting in Pyongyang. Photo: AFP/Yonhap
The political bureau of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party announced Sunday its decision to strip Jang Song-thaek of all posts and expel him from the party. He is accused of "anti-party and counter-revolutionary factional acts." As Jang was viewed as the second-most powerful figure and is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, this announcement is considered a significant political event.
It has been almost two years since Kim Jong-un took power from his late father Kim Jong-il. The outside world generally believes the whole process was smooth. For China, such a peaceful transition suits China's interest.
After the news of Jang's fall came to China, there has been speculation on the Internet, but ordinary Chinese are more willing to see a stable North Korea and believe its leader has the ability to control the situation.
Recently, disputes between China and Japan have been the focus of Northeast Asia and there has been no major news about North Korea, but the country's geopolitical significance to this region does not change. On the one hand, it is a weak country in terms of national strength; on the other hand, it claims special strategic impetus.
A friendly relationship between China and North Korea is not only critical to the North, but also a strategic and diplomatic leverage for China. With China's rise, its diplomatic leverage will become greater, yet the impact of bilateral relations in the Asia-Pacific region is irreplaceable.
To keep this friendly relationship should be China's mainstream mentality toward this neighbor. Urging it to give up nuclear weapons and the bilateral friendship should have the common ground.
China and North Korea have long taken different development paths. The two are not comparable in terms of politics and economy. Only on the Chinese Internet would anyone make comparisons between the two. Some Net users abuse North Korea as a way of venting their dissatisfaction with China, which is nothing but hot air.
China's friendliness and aid for North Korea are rooted in China's national interest, as are China's ties with and aid for Pakistan. Those who make an ideological interpretation of Sino-North Korea relations probably are living in past times.
Kim Jong-un is young, which can possibly become the country's decisive factor in promoting the nation to move forward. The outside world should help create conditions for North Korea to integrate into East Asia instead of elbowing this sensitive country toward a confrontational direction.
China can exert the most influence on North Korea, while how to balance its friendship with the country and oppose its nuclear weapons is a test for China's diplomacy. China has gained the initiative in dealing with complexities in Northeast Asia as well as in Sino-North Korean relations.
China should help bring about Kim Jong-un's visit to China as soon as possible, which will benefit the North's long-term stability and bilateral friendly ties.