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China concerned over its depleting influence on North Korea

It is imperative that North Korea is in no mood or position to accept dictation from anyone, no matter if it comes from China

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As North Korea precedes with its audacious, by its own standards, diplomatic moves, China feels that it is a deliberate move on part of North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Un, to move away from China’s sphere of influence.

His dialogue with the South Korean President made waves over the international media and experts were compelled to admit that it is the part of reparation strategy that North is employing to change its international reputation. China and United States of America are in the competition from a strategic point of view and Pyongyang seems to cash the opportunity to reduce the dependence on former.

In a first of its kind in 11 years, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un to express the Chinese concerns over his discourse and reminded him of the difficult times when China stood for his country. “Beijing likely would want to ensure that Pyongyang would not develop a closer relationship with Washington than Beijing,” said Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. “The visit by the Chinese foreign minister, the first in 11 years, appears to be part of that effort.”

Chinese President is expected to visit North Korea in June but the signs are not promising for bilateral cordial relations so far.

It is a fear shared by Chinese strategic brass that the United States might opt to pick the growing Chinese influence over the economic and geopolitical landscape, a threat greater than possession of Nuclear weapons by North. The United States might agree to compromise the nuclear disagreement it has with North to use it against China in the long run. Though both Asian countries have shared closed historic relations over the decades, since the cease-fire of Korean War, but the bumpy ride started as soon as Kim consolidated the power.

Read more: North Korea’s nuclear declaration: what it does and does not mean

Due to his impulsive nature, he went along the line many times which was not endorsed by Beijing. This resulted in first-ever trade embargo which China enacted over North Korea last year because Kim was paying no heed to anything against his nuclear tests.

But the policy of economically hurting North Korea is likely to not be pursued any further. China must be looking for avenues to strengthen the economic ties with a possibility of giving North access to the rail network in northeast Asia.

If affairs move in the direction which China intends them to, North Korea could well be the part of China’s belt and road initiatives as well. As reported by The New York Times, Businessmen in the area of northeastern China that borders North Korea say that some North Korean workers are returning to China on short-term visas and that they expect trade to pick up soon.

The United States might agree to compromise the nuclear disagreement it has with North to use it against China in the long run.

 

It is imperative that North Korea is in no mood or position to accept dictation from anyone, no matter if it comes from China. Mr. Wang Yi’s visit to DPRK and subsequent talks with Kim Jon Un must have included the “suggestions” of how to deal with Americans. Especially with the way Trump Administration has been hostile toward Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or commonly known as Iran’s nuclear deal.

Read more: North Korea says historic summit opens ‘new era for peace’

Right now it might seem to incentive for Kim Jong Un to use the opportunity to gain a relative independence from the influence. But given the history with the way the USA has dealt with nation-states once the desired objectives have been achieved might result in North hanging in the balance, in future,  with not even China coming to its rescue.

The mutual press release, issued at the end of President Moon and Kim Jon Un meeting, failed to mention China which raised eyebrows. Chinese President is expected to visit North Korea in June but the signs are not promising for bilateral cordial relations so far. It must have been on the agenda of Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi to set the tone in the right rhythm. Due to the geographical proximity, North Korea has much to gain by keeping its name in the good books of the Asian giant.


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