Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Beijing is still stalling on North Korea

Kim Jong-un and the top brass pose for a picture
As long as instability on the Korean Peninsula continues to serve Beijing’s interests, China will not be a partner we can count on to rein in the crazies in Pyongyang 

Analysts and diplomats last week were hinting at a possible attitudinal shift in Beijing on the North Korea issue after China, Pyongyang’s longtime ally, voted for UN Security Council Resolution 2094, which imposes additional sanctions on North Korea to punish it for conducting its third nuclear test on Feb. 12. However, despite signaling displeasure with Pyongyang’s brinkmanship, Beijing does not yet seem willing to do what is required to stop its neighbor from flirting with weapons of Armageddon.

The signs on Thursday last week were promising: Beijing had signed on to the latest round of sanctions, while some influential figures, such as retired People’s Liberation Army major general Luo Yuan (羅援), a prominent foreign policy hawk, were warning North Korea that although both nations had been “comrade[s] and brothers-in-arms in the past,” if Pyongyang harmed China’s national interests, “we’ll get even with you.”

However, if the reports that emerged on Monday are any indication, the optimism may have been a little premature. Beijing’s apparent change of heart might be nothing more than cosmetic.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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