On March 19, China’s famous Korean War historian Shen Zhihua gave a lecture at the Dalian Foreign Language University. Shen expressed in the lecture that China has screwed up its North Korean policy. He believes that North Korea is China’s potential enemy.
Shen Zhihua recommended that China should abandon the soured brotherhood myth (with North Korea), give up its support for North Korea, and turn to South Korea.
He believes that, judging from the current situation, North Korea is China’s potential enemy, whereas South Korea may be China’s friend. He also said that China and North Korea are not comrades anymore. Sino-Korean relations cannot be improved in the short term.
Shen stressed that intimate Sino-Korean relations are the product of the Cold War. After several decades of confrontation and the change in the international environment, this relationship has changed. Once the Korean Peninsula war breaks out because of the DPRK nuclear issue, China and South Korea will eventually bear the greatest consequences, although the United States and the DPRK are the responsible parties.
Shen Zhihua’s view sparked the anger of Chinese super-nationalists who accused him of betraying China’s ally with his attitude toward Pyongyang. China’s national news media did not cover his views and the related debates.
Shen said that, so far, his views have been tolerated, indicating that the government may be willing to tolerate greater criticism of North Korea, as well as a debate on Sino-DPRK relations. However, Shen Zhihua also admitted that a change in direction toward the DPRK may harbor risk.
It is noteworthy that, despite China’s implementation of the United Nations sanctions against the DPRK, China’s imports from North Korea in the first quarter increased by 10.8 percent year on year. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press conference that, although China will adhere to the sanctions resolution, outside of the sanctions framework, China also maintains a “normal relationship” with North Korea.
Source: Duowei News, April 19, 2017