23 April 2017
If China were to assert more pressure on North Korea to suspend its nuclear and missile programmes, it would not be at the behest of United States President Donald Trump.
The view of several analysts, both within and outside China, is that Beijing is already adjusting its North Korea policy due to North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and other reasons.
Security analyst Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University summed up the change as one of emphasis. Whereas in the past, Beijing placed greater emphasis on regime survival in Pyongyang and stable relations with its close neighbor and less on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it now places equal emphasis on the two, he said.
Professor Li also noted that external pressure is another factor causing Beijing to recalibrate its North Korea policy. China’s ties with South Korea have deteriorated as Seoul thinks Beijing is not doing enough to rein in the North. That has led to Seoul aligning itself more closely with the U.S.
The U.S. for its part has used the North Korea nuclear issue to justify enhanced military deployment in North-east Asia, said Prof Li. An example is the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, an advanced anti-missile system, in South Korea, he added. China vehemently opposes the deployment of THAAD on the Korean peninsula because it believes the system’s powerful radars undermine its security interests. China is worried that THAAD could also be deployed in Japan.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 26/05/2017