Tuesday, 2 May 2017

China Draws Red Line for North Korea Issue: War is Not Allowed

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi took a tough position on the North Korea issue on Wednesday, saying that war on the Korean Peninsula is absolutely unacceptable.

Wang made the remarks in a press conference after a Sino-German dialogue on cooperation with Sigmar Gabriel, the German vice-chancellor and foreign minister in Germany.

Of course we believe that the continued nuclear tests violate UN Security Council resolutions, but carrying out nonstop military exercises around the Korean Peninsula is clearly not in line with the spirit of Council resolutions,” Wang Yi said. He added that it is imperative to return to dialogue as soon as possible.

Wang Yi said that the goal of the Chinese side is firm; that is, to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establish a mechanism for peace on the Peninsula. He said China is willing to continue to play a constructive role to that end, but warned of the dangers of the situation. “As for the likelihood of war, even a one percent possibility of war breaking out is not acceptable,” Wang Yi said. “The Korean Peninsula is not the Middle East. If war breaks out, the consequences would be unimaginable.”

Previous posts on the crisis in Korea have pointed to the fact that the Chinese have more at stake with their trade relations to the US rather than they do with maintaining good relations to North Korea. Plus the consequences of war are too great for all sides. Seoul would be destroyed, cities in Japan possibly nuked, and all of North Korea destroyed. China, that already suffers from internal economic tensions, would have to deal with the post war mess, and may get caught up in the fighting (putting them at odds with the Western world - their export markets). All sides have too much to lose. The leaders of these countries, when sitting around the planning table fully understand. Therefore, the chances of war, despite all the rhetoric, is extremely low.

Currently the Chinese leadership are forced into reigning in North Korea, while also calling for the US to back down. The bottom line is that the North Korean leadership is not going to get a free pass to continue what they are doing in terms of producing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Their actions upset their key ally China.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, May 2nd, 2017.]

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