US spurs Pyongyang’s risky nuclear moves

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-20 0:43:01

US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law new sanctions on North Korea. Anyone cooperating with North Korea in weapon programs or other areas opposed by the US will also be targeted.

On the other side, North Korean media reported on Friday that Kim Jong-un had called for the launch of more satellites and for the country to "pave a wide avenue to conquering space."

The confrontational moves have worsened the situation.

The roots of North Korea nuclear issue lies in the US hostilities with North Korea. As the weaker side, North Korea decided to develop nuclear weapons to deter the US, despite widespread international opposition. It is a risky gamble. The odds of North Korea's winning are almost zero.

Who has pushed North Korea to the brink? Factors from inside the country play undeniable roles. But not everything is caused by itself.

The US is the major driver behind each round of crisis. The consistent military pressure against North Korea, the insincerity in carrying out the Agreed Framework reached in 1994 over the nuclear issue and its open expectation of a quick demise of the current regime have deepened North Korea's fears.

The US has the absolute initiative over North Korea. It would not be difficult for the US to return a peaceful Korean Peninsula to millions of Koreans.

The US does not want North Korea to have nuclear weapons. But if the Peninsula becomes peaceful, the US will be worried that the allied South may walk away and embrace the North.

The US would be happier to see China becomes a major foe of North Korea, so that the Korean Peninsula troubles will shift to China.

The North Korea issue has become an excuse for the US to prepare for the rise of China. The push to deploy the THAAD missile system and other strategic military tools into this region is not only aimed at deterring North Korea but at the bigger target, China.

The problem is, Pyongyang made a mistake in its first step in developing nuclear weapons. Now the nuclear issue has been pulling China deeper into the mire.

We must determine which scenario hurts China more - either North Korea successfully develops nuclear weapons and prompts strong reaction from the US, Japan and South Korea; or China has a showdown with North Korea by agreeing to the strictest sanctions, but that may lead to other geopolitical consequences.

Also, will North Korea back off in the face of China's stricter sanctions? If the US militarily engages North Korea, will China sit back or watch the levels of the US operation and decide when to step in? These are all hard questions.

Posted in: Editorial

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