N.Korea won't break nuclear stalemate with diplomatic maneuvers

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-8 19:03:01

A North Korean delegation led by Kim Song-nam, vice director of the International Affairs Department of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, left for China on July 2.

Meanwhile, North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, also stopped by Beijing the same day before heading to Moscow to talk with Deputy Foreign Ministers Vladimir Titov and Igor Morgulov about the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

The moves by North Korea have attracted wide attention.

As South Korean President Park Geun-hye just paid a state visit to Beijing, it is very important for the North to catch what attitudes China and the South took toward its nuclear issue and to what degree China had reached consensus with the international community. This would help Pyongyang reevaluate its diplomatic policies, take the next steps correspondingly, and most urgently, make preparations for its "denuclearization talks" with Russia.

There is no denying that China has big influence on North Korea's diplomacy. China is able to exert its influence through economic and military means. The Treaty of Friendship Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the two countries is still in effect.

Some have suggested the bilateral military treaty be abolished after the nuclear test by the North Korea, but that goes against China's interests.

It does not benefit China to form a US-South Korea-China "alliance" and risk great instability within North Korea.

China should give more priority to peace, stability and a balance of power in Northeast Asia, while exerting certain pressure on Pyongyang.

On the other hand, Russia has its own interests in North Korea. For example, it has to transmit natural gas through North Korea to China, South Korea and Japan. So Moscow will make every effort to maintain a peaceful peninsula.

It is impossible to forge an alliance among Russia, China and North Korea, as this is bound to trigger tensions and mutual suspicion in the region.

Although North Korea has shown a softer stance by making successive active diplomatic maneuvers since the beginning of May, it is open to question whether it really intends to drop nuclear weapon program.

From the perspective of its own strategic interests, North Korea will not give up its nuclear plans. Its intention to revive the Six-Party Talks may just aim to break the constraints imposed by the international community as well as extricate itself from isolation.

It remains difficult for North Korea to improve its relations with other countries via a seemingly softening stance.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Xiaonan, based on an interview with Cai Jian, vice director with the Center for South Korean Studies, Fudan University. wangxiaonan@globaltimes.com.cn

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