Pyongyang will not give up nukes unless Washington ties improve

By Wang Haiqing Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-1-17 21:53:01

As the world is busy digesting news of the fourth nuclear test by North Korea within a decade, a sobering fact is worth noting: Washington's antagonistic approach has pushed Pyongyang further in the pursuit of nuclear capabilities.

The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, which arose from  the Cold War, has remained a major security conundrum for the region as well as the world, largely due to the tense relations between the US and  North Korea.

Except for a brief period in the 1990s, mutual distrust and antagonism have defined the US-North Korea relationship.

Since 2003, North Korea has stressed that it would abandon its nuclear program only if the US abandons its antagonistic policies toward Pyongyang.

A great many observers and analysts have also pointed out that any progress toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula hinges on the improvement of US-North Korea ties.

In the past few years, the US  has used various pressure tactics including war games and economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

In response to North Korea's latest nuclear test, the US flew a  bomber over South Korea, and it is also gearing up to impose tighter sanctions on North Korea. However, history has proven that such pressure tactics could hardly succeed in subduing Pyongyang's nuclear ambition. On the contrary, they would harden Pyongyang's resolve to go further in its pursuit of nuclear capabilities.

North Korea's nuclear brinkmanship, which indeed deserves worldwide condemnation given its potential to severely disturb regional stability and world peace, may well be seen as a desperate attempt by the country to raise its leverage in wrestling with the US.

Some Western media and politicians have piled blame on China for failing to halt Pyongyang's nuclear program. But accusing China of being the crux of the ongoing nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is as absurd as it is irresponsible.

As a neighbor of North Korea, China is exposed to a great level of risk should a nuclear emergency occur in North Korea. China has the strongest motivation to push forward the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula, and has played a tremendously positive role in the six-party talks and other endeavors to that effect.

As the Korean Peninsula threatens to become a powder keg, it is imperative that all sides exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that may escalate tension in the region.

The US and its allies in the region need to make a convincing case about their proclaimed commitment to stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. North Korea, in the meantime, needs to understand that its repeated failure to honor its non-proliferation obligations will lead to its further isolation by the international community.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. This article first appeared on Xinhua.

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