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Global Times: How Should China Respond to North Korea’s New Nuclear Test?

Following North Korea’s latest nuclear test, China’s state media Global Times published an editorial to state China’s stance. Soon after, the article was withdrawn from its website, but it is still available on the website of Sina, which republished the article. Below is an excerpt from the article:

North Korea’s latest nuclear test explosions and a recent series of long-range missile tests show that Pyongyang does not yield to any pressure, soft or hard. It is determined to obtain long-range nuclear strike capability and will not yield to any external pressure. North Korea nuclear issue is almost a dead knot (unresolvable).

Faced with this complex situation, China has to maintain a high degree of calm, take measures from China’s national interests, and minimize the risks that Chinese society faces. The safety of northeast China is of number one importance. We need to make it clear to Pyongyang through a variety of channels that its nuclear tests cannot pollute the northeast of China. China’s strategic security and environmental security are the bottom line in China’s exercise of restraint.

North Korea’s latest nuclear campaign will inevitably lead to a discussion in the UN Security on imposing new sanctions. Intensified sanctions will be inevitable. However, we believe that, despite the fact that Chinese society is very upset about the DPRK’s new nuclear test, we still want to avoid impulsive action. China should not easily agree to extreme sanctions such as one similar to the embargo against North Korea.

Once China has completely cut off the supply of oil to North Korea, or even shut down the border between China and North Korea, it is still uncertain whether it can prevent North Korea’s nuclear activities. The DPRK’s comprehensive and open opposition to China will likely happen. In that way, over a period of time, the contradiction between China and the DPRK will at least become the most prominent contradiction surrounding the Korean Peninsula. The opposition between China and the DPRK will overwhelm the contradiction between the U.S. and North Korea and take most of the energy of the highly tense situation. Washington and Seoul will then achieve the purpose of “outsourcing” North Korea’s nuclear problem to China. That is completely inconsistent with China’s national interests.

Therefore, as long as the DPRK nuclear activities do not pollute China’s northeast, China should avoid the radical attitude of the United States and South Korea in issuing sanctions against North Korea.

China is a big country. China’s agenda and interests are global. The issue of the Korean peninsula will never garner China’s whole attention.

Source: Global Times, republished by Sina, September 3, 2017