Analysis: China between a rock and a hard place over N Korea
Analysis: China between a rock and a hard place over N Korea from The BRICS Post
News that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, also known as North Korea) on Sunday successfully tested its sixth hydrogen bomb, meant for long-term missile warfare, has brought speculations of a nuclear Armageddon back to the fore.
The missile test was condemned by Russia and the US. It also received strong rebuke from China, which is hosting the 9th annual BRICS Summit in Xiamen.
“The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns this,” a Chinese foreign ministry statement said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, meeting on the sidelines of the Summit, said they will “stick to the goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and keep close communication and coordination to deal with the new situation”.
But this new situation is trying patience in China, North Korea’s only real friend in the region.
The Chinese are angry at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for trying to upstage the Summit, and for putting them in an unenviable situation vis-a-vis the fiery chest-pumping antics from the White House.
US President Donald Trump immediately mandated the Treasury to draft a new sanctions regime to slap on top of the current one, all aimed at debilitating North Korea’s access to resources and its military prowess.
But he also took a Twitter swipe at China and South Korea. He threatened to stop conducting trade with China if it doesn’t do more to rein the North in, and mocked South Korea for wanting to return to use economics to lure the North away from nuclearization.
“South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!” he Tweeted on Sunday evening.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in as recently as last week said that South Korean policies in dealing with the North need to return to the experiences of the past, specifically about 10 years ago when relations with Pyongyang appeared to be on the mend and both countries were involved in joint economic projects.
Unlike his predecessor President Park Geun-hye, who was ousted on corruption charges, Moon came to the presidency with a clear vision to repair ties with the North.
“If countries want to do business with the United States, they obviously will be working with our allies and others to cut off North Korea economically,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin toldFox News.
Sanctions upon sanctions
United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea already render most trade with the country illegal under international law. Numerous resolutions passed in 2006, 2009 and 2016 imposed a comprehensive arms and military embargo on the “rogue” state and any other activity contributing to its widespread violations of human right.