US, NK should not make China scapegoat

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/1 22:08:39

Tensions escalated after North Korea launched a new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland. The US is threatening extreme sanctions such as curbing oil supplies and is pushing for other countries to sever ties with Pyongyang.

The pressure for the US to slap extreme sanctions on North Korea falls once again on China and the risk of war is rising.

China will face difficult choices, but at least we can say China has tried its best. We can neither persuade Pyongyang nor sway the opinion of Washington. The only thing China can do next is to firmly uphold its principles, strive to alleviate tensions while at the same time preparing for the worst.

China has done what it can for North Korea. Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program caused geopolitical instability in Northeast Asia, increasing challenges to China's own security. The US found a new excuse to deploy its strategic military weapons to the region. The THAAD system poses a direct threat to China.

China remains one of a few countries that still pursue a friendly policy toward North Korea. Although China participated in the UN Security Council sanctions, the country remains the largest trading partner of North Korea. China has in several UN Security Council debates strongly opposed a comprehensive trade embargo against Pyongyang, stressing that sanctions should only be geared toward fields related to the nuclear program but not to hurt ordinary North Korean people's livelihoods.

China has done what it can for the US. The source of this nuclear crisis is the escalating hostility between Pyongyang and Washington. The theory that China should be held responsible is wrong in logic. To solve the nuclear crisis, one must work simultaneously on sanctions and negotiations. China has fulfilled its obligations in complying with UN Security Council sanctions, suffering a loss in Sino-North Korean relations. On the other hand, the US and South Korea failed to fulfill their obligations in alleviating tensions and pushing for talks. They have instead pinned their hopes on China.

For a period of time, the US has been threatening China to increase sanctions against North Korea. Beijing has been working with Washington with the greatest patience possible. China has played a critical role in preventing the situation from collapsing into confrontation between the US and North Korea. With increasing US pressure on Pyongyang, China has suffered the greatest loss.

When tensions on the Korean Peninsula reach a new height, a large portion of the pressure is transferred to China. But the US and North Korea must shoulder their own responsibility without making China the scapegoat.

North Korea should be prepared to face further sanctions as it violated the UN Security Council resolutions to continue testing missiles. China has no reason to pay for North Korea's mistakes.

Whatever North Korea did, it is wrong to impose a full trade embargo or to sever ties with the country. China has no obligation to cooperate with the US on this impractical idea. The US has no right to direct China or the UN Security Council.

Recently the US media began to recognize China's efforts, acknowledging that China cannot stop Pyongyang's nuclear program. We believe that Pyongyang is beginning to recognize too that when it continues to test missiles and nuclear weapons, China cannot stop it from being punished.

The possibility of a war on the Korean Peninsula is rising and it is not decided by China. China's strategy should be maintaining its independent stance and principles, pushing the UN Security Council to craft the most reasonable policy and refusing to yield to either sides' extreme requests, be they from Washington or Pyongyang.

China will face whatever comes next. Beijing is fully prepared to use its prowess to defend its national interest. China owes no one anything, and other countries must know this.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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