Chinese experts see U.S.-DPRK antagonism as root cause of nuke test

The United States should reflect seriously on the latest nuclear test of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was caused by long-standing antagonism between the two countries, Chinese experts said.

After the DPRK’s nuclear test earlier this week, some Western media said China’s policy toward the country has proven to be a failure, a straw-man fallacy refuted by Chinese experts and scholars.

History has proven that a country threatened by force and sanctions would maintain and further develop its own military strength, they said.


Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said the DPRK decided to conduct the third nuclear test on the basis of its own interests, instead of being in accordance to China’s will.

On denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, all parties concerned should assume their respective obligations accordingly, he said, adding that the DPRK’s firm stance on the nuclear test showed that their efforts had not been successful.

Echoing Shi’s view, Liu Jiangyong, a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University, said the argument that China’s DPRK policy has failed is ill-founded.

Such arguments of some foreign media or on the internet are either provocation or have ulterior motives, he said.

China has done nothing wrong in and will stick to its position on the issue, for which the country urges a resolution through dialogue, he added.

After the DPRK’s third nuclear test, Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said in an article that China has been criticized for keeping trade and economic relations with the DPRK, which are described as a “big loophole” of the United Nations’ sanctions against the country.

As a matter of fact, he said, China has strictly adhered to relevant UN resolutions that do not demand cutting off all economic exchanges with the DPRK.

China-DPRK trade and economic relations are normal between two neighboring countries, Tao said.

“China, as a responsible stakeholder in the international community and one of the signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), bears solemn obligations for the international community in safeguarding the world’s nuclear non-proliferation system,” he said.

“This is also the reason why China has firmly opposed the DPRK’s new nuclear test, a stance that should not be misunderstood,” Tao added.


On the root cause of the nuclear test, Liu, the Tsinghua professor, said the DPRK’s real target was the United States, instead of China or South Korea.

“On this issue, the United States, South Korea and Japan should be blamed for the failure of their policies. Those countries should reflect on what has happened,” he said.

Liu said the nuclear test has shown that a policy of sanctions or coercion could not compel the DPRK to submit, adding that the country would have a strong sense of crisis if it was not offered a safe international environment and an open international economic policy.

“The current situation in Northeast Asia is imbalanced, with South Korea and Japan sheltered under the U.S. nuclear umbrella,” said Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

At the same time, he said, the military strength of South Korea and Japan is not weak and the DPRK’s security pressure mainly comes from the United States, the real target of its nuclear deterrence.

Tao, the CASS research fellow, also attributed the complexity of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula to the 60-year-old antagonism between the DPRK and the United States.


On a resolution to the issue, Shi, the professor at Renmin University, said the key is how to push forward denuclearization on the peninsula.

At a time when various efforts have failed to make headway, relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council should be implemented and measures of sanctions should be established to curb the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons, he said.

Liu, the Tsinghua professor, also said history has proven that when Washington and Seoul carried out the so-called “Sunshine Policy” toward the DPRK, tensions on the Korean Peninsula would be eased, which would provide conditions for realizing denuclearization.

When the mechanism of the six-party talks or dialogue played a dominant role, tensions would also be eased, he said, adding that otherwise tensions would escalate.

Facing military exercises, sanctions and confrontation, the DPRK would go its own way, a choice for self-protection, Liu said.

He said China has called for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a solution to the issue through the six-party talks and dialogue within the framework of the United Nations.

Although the policy has not resolved the issue so far, it at least does not intensify the dispute, Liu said.

Ruan, from the CIIS, expressed the hope that all parties concerned would resume diplomatic contact after a period of time.

“In the future, distrust and antagonism between the United States and the DPRK should be resolved by mechanisms of multilateral dialogue like the six-party talks,” he said.

“The Chinese side should continue to play the role of a peacemaker and mediator,” Ruan said. “After all, only negotiations could resolve the issue fundamentally.”


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