North Korea
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

Amid mounting tensions between North Korea and the US, Beijing carried out live battle drills on its border with that country. China’s air force carried out exercises near the peninsula, practicing to defend against a “surprise attack”

According to state media, the drills took place near the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea which separates China from the Korean peninsula. The media boisterously said: “The troops’ rapid response capabilities and actual combat levels have effectively been tested.” New weapons, used to shoot down airborne missiles, were successfully tested for the first time.

“Any new actions taken by the international community against the DPRK should serve the purpose of curbing the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, while at the same time be conducive to restarting dialogue and consultation,” he said as pressure mounts on his country to rein-in North Korea.

This drill has come at a time when Beijing has agreed to the imposition of more sanctions on North Korea but not at the cost of closing all windows for diplomacy. “Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the UN Security Council should make a further response and take necessary measures,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters, without giving out further details.

Read more: North Korea’s hydrogen bomb and Trump’s war…

“Any new actions taken by the international community against the DPRK should serve the purpose of curbing the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, while at the same time be conducive to restarting dialogue and consultation,” he said as pressure mounts on his country to rein-in North Korea.

China has been ostracized for doing little to stop Kim to press on with ICBM and nuclear tests, with the latest test of a hydrogen Bomb being the most serious provocation. China is by far North Korea’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 92 percent of two-way trade last year. It also provides tonnes of oil and fuel to the impoverished regime.

The United States wants the U.N. Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban its exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad, and subject leader Kim Jong Un to an asset freeze and travel ban.

China has been ostracized for doing little to stop Kim to press on with ICBM and nuclear tests, with the latest test of a hydrogen Bomb being the most serious provocation. China is by far North Korea’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 92 percent of two-way trade last year. It also provides tonnes of oil and fuel to the impoverished regime. Therefore, the world believes it is doing little to hamper Kim’s ambitions in the nuclear realm.

Read more: The nuclear showdown 2017: Millions at the…

Why China can’t do much?

The drills, in all earnestness, will assuage Kim’s fears and add to those of Washington and her allies. As the US redeploys THAAD missiles in South Korea, Kim is likely to add further credibility to his threats to the US and its allies.

Despite huge expectations from China, there is little that it can do to rein-in Kim’s nuclear program. One that Kim’s build-up is commensurate with provocations from the US and its allies; the hostile threats have pushed Kim to do what he is doing. Hence, Kim considers nuclear weapons as a crutch to his regime; China cannot, by any means dissuade Kim from his nuclearization. Moreover, if an ally like China changes side, North Korea will become more vulnerable, therefore needing the absolute weapon more than ever before. Furthermore, China can ill-afford a lopsided preponderance of the US in the Korean Peninsula.

Read more: Interventionism and the Korean crisis

The drills, in all earnestness, will assuage Kim’s fears and add to those of Washington and her allies. As the US redeploys THAAD missiles in South Korea, Kim is likely to add further credibility to his threats to the US and its allies. A war on the Korean Peninsula is least desirable for China, hence the show of force needs to be seen as a signal to the US rather than one to Kim.

Comments & Discussion