Nuclear umbrella for Pyongyang naïve suggestion

By Zhang Liangui Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-17 20:18:01

A South Korean MP reportedly questioned Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se about Seoul's reactions if North Korea asked China to pledge shelter under its nuclear umbrella as a condition of denuclearization.

Such a question may have been affected by the Chinese media, since some Chinese scholars have suggested providing the North with the shelter of Beijing's nuclear umbrella to persuade it to give up its own nuclear weapons.

However, the assumption does not hold water under the current circumstances, because North Korea has explicitly announced that it would never give up its nuclear program on many occasions and refused all dialogue and consultations on nuclear abandonment. The isolated nation has proclaimed itself a nuclear state in its new constitution and set a twin strategy of "carrying out economic development and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously."

North Korea has been holding that it builds up its nuclear deterrent only for self-defense due to Washington's hostility. In actuality, there are much more complicated reasons for the North's development of nuclear capacities.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the nation's Worker's Party, published an article in April, stating that the country aimed at promoting reunification on the Korean Peninsula through a staunch position on the nuclear issue. A US scholar has written that Pyongyang's nuclear-armed missiles are not targeted at the US. The proclamation of "self-defense" is just one of many purposes.

We should also properly understand North Korea's official ideology, Juche ("self-reliance"). Since Pyongyang puts enormous emphasis on the idea that "the people must have independence in thought and politics, economic self-sufficiency, and self-reliance in defense," it will never accept "protection" from any country.

If China offers the naïve suggestion of "protection," Pyongyang will definitely react fiercely against Beijing or even declare war.

In addition, people may have misinterpreted the willpower and logic of North Korean leaders in the development of nuclear facilities. With a faith in realism in international politics, they are fully committed to the military-first policy. Pyongyang has stipulated nuclear development as a basic national policy and spared no efforts to engage in this cause at all costs.

All these factors demonstrated that it is no more than a delusional conjecture that North Korea can be persuaded to renounce nuclear weapons by providing it with a nuclear umbrella.

The author is a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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