23 May 2018
For a while there, it looked as if China might be sidelined as the two Koreas and the United States made plans to hold summits of their leaders last month and beyond. But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s two visits to China in quick succession – in late March and early this month – to meet President Xi Jinping put paid to that possibility. What these meetings have done is to assuage China’s anxiety about being left out of the denuclearisation and peace process of the Korean peninsula.
It is important to China’s security interests for it to be included in any peace negotiation as it shares a border with North Korea. This is particularly as Beijing is wary of American intentions, given that the US in its national security strategy report last December characterised China as a strategic rival.
Still, it appears to be a bit of a stretch that North Korea’s hardening of its position over next month’s summit is a result of Chinese influence, some analysts say.
Associate Professor Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies agreed that North Korea’s hardening of its position was not a result of Chinese influence. This is because after the two summits, there would be fairly good collaboration between North Korea and China on strategic issues, particularly as they share strategic objectives such as reduction or elimination of the US’ presence and security role on the peninsula, he said.
China has greater interest in seeing the summit proceed as planned rather than aborted as it was always its position to see negotiation take place, he added.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/05/2018