How should Beijing respond to Pyongyang’s new nuclear test?
In the face of such a complicated situation, China needs a sober mind and must minimize the risks Chinese society has to bear. The security of China’s northeastern regions is a priority. We need to make clear to Pyongyang through various channels that its nuclear tests can never contaminate China’s northeastern provinces. China’s strategic security and environmental safety is the bottom line for China in showing restraint. If North Korea crosses this line, the current framework for Sino-North Korean ties will break down.
The latest nuclear and missile activities of North Korea will prompt the UN Security Council to discuss new sanctions against Pyongyang and even more stringent sanctions are inevitable. Despite the anger of the Chinese public toward North Korea’s new nuclear test, we should avoid resorting to rash and extreme means by imposing a full embargo on North Korea.
If China completely cuts off the supply of oil to North Korea or even closes the China-North Korea border, it is uncertain whether we can deter Pyongyang from conducting further nuclear tests and missile launches. However, confrontation between the two is likely to occur. If so, the conflict between China and North Korea will transcend any conflict between the US and North Korea, and take center stage on the Korean Peninsula. Then Washington and Seoul can boldly shift the responsibility of the North Korean nuclear issue to China, which does not fit China’s national interests.
If North Korea’s nuclear activities don’t contaminate China’s northeastern regions, China should avoid imposing overly aggressive sanctions on North Korea. The root cause of the North Korean nuclear issue is that the military pressure of the Washington-Seoul alliance generates a sense of insecurity for Pyongyang who then believes that owning a nuclear strike capability is its sole guarantee for survival of its regime. China is a big power and its agendas and interests are globally oriented. The issue around the Korean Peninsula could never consume all of China’s attention.Source: People’s Daily and Global Times