The Conundrum of China-North Korea Relations 2Posted: February 21, 2017
In my post “The Conundrum of China-North Korea Relations” the day before yesterday, I said that China satisfied US President Trump in yuan exchange rate, import tariffs and intellectual property as those are what China has already had intention to do, but has difficulties to be hard on North Korea.
I described in my post the kinship between Chinese and North Korean peoples.
Some believe that China benefits from the trouble created by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests to the US, Japan and South Korea as the three form an iron triangle against China. However, China will be in great trouble if Trump has Japan and South Korea develop nuclear weapons to deal with North Korea and put China under direct threat of Japan and South Korea’s nuclear weapons; therefore, China has to stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, especially when Trump has shown his desire in his phone call with Xi for win-win cooperation with China.
To please the US and put pressure on North Korea, China has recently announced that it would suspend import of North Korean coal, that accounts for $1.89 billion of the $2.5 billion in total Chinese imports from North Korea.
However, China does not want to punish North Korea too hard for fear of the collapse of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un regime.
Reuters says in its report “China wields stick with North Korea, but is still pushing for talks” yesterday that China fears that the collapse may give rise to flood of hundreds of thousands North Korean refugees into China.
In addition, “Beijing would also be concerned that U.S. and South Korean armed forces would move into North Korea and soon be on the Chinese border.”
That is why Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Munich over the weekend that China had not given up hope for a new round of diplomacy with North Korea, even as he pledged support for UN sanctions.
Anyway, Trump must be satisfied. I hope that the win-win cooperation between the US and China will make both of them strong and prosperous perhaps at the expense of Japan. North Korea will also be happy about that as Kim Jong-un in fact wants good relations with the US. His nuclear and missile tests are but bargaining chips for improvement of relations with the US. However, North Korea hates Japan bitterly.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-northkorea-analysis-idUSKBN15Z11M.