US policy on DPRK shouldn't go further

Source
China Military
Editor
Zhang Tao
Time
2017-03-17

BEIJING, March 17 (ChinaMil) -- The Korean Peninsula will be at the forefront this week again as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes his first trip in office to Asia.

"Efforts over the past 20 years to bring DPRK to a point of denuclearization have failed; we’ve had 20 years of failed approaches. It’s clear that a different approach is required”,Tillerson said in Tokyo. He even claimed China as DPRK’s main economic and political ally. The media guessed that Tillerson will ask China to "do more" to sanction the DPRK.

As the Korean Peninsula situation got intense and the DPRK refused to stop its nuclear missile efforts unilaterally, the US and South Korea found themselves at the end of their rope and began to complain about China's ineffective pressure on Pyongyang. This has become their stereotyped pattern.

The New York Times quoted an anonymous official from the US State Department that the US will step up missile defenses and pressure on Chinese financial institutions if they fail to use their influence to restrain DPRK's nuclear and missile programs.

The US plans to increase the fine on Chinese companies and banks that do business with the DPRK, according to CNN.

Given the current situation, what the US did is truly "thief crying thief". Beijing will not change its stern opposition against the deployment of THAAD missile battery in the South Korea . Even if China cannot dissuade the US for the moment, Beijing has the ability to launch a severe sanction against the South Korea and that will humiliate Washington.

As to so-called cooperation of Chinese banks and enterprises with DPRK, that's just America's pure imagination. If Trump's new diplomatic team formulates the policy on DPRK based on such a misjudgment, they are set for a more serious mistake than the one they made in the past 20 years.

A basic fact is that China is firmly opposing the DPRK's possession of nuclear weapons as the US and South Korea.

China is close to the Korean Peninsula, and the testing and deployment of nuclear weapons on the peninsula will pose a long-term potential risk against its security. If there is any way to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear activities, China will try it.

Beijing has announced that it won't import any more coal from DPRK before the end of this year, which will take a toll on Pyongyang's generation of foreign exchanges. It also announced a more stringent list of goods that are barred from being exported to Pyongyang, including all materials related with the development of nuclear missile.

But if the US and South Korea ask China to "close" its border with DPRK, that will be a punishment to all DPRK's people and will force the Pyongyang government to a dead end instead of just targeting its nuclear missile activities.

Beijing will not concede on this point. If that happened, the US and South Korea would be like outsourcing the whole Korean Peninsula nuclear issue to China and China would be a full participant in their strategy.

At that time, China and DPRK would become "enemies" and their confrontation would become the new main conflicts in Northeast Asia.

The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue was caused by the US-DPRK hostility, but now the US and South Korea want China to clean up the mess and take all responsibilities, which will make it bear the brunt once turmoil broke out in DPRK. Well, they have no right to ask this of China.

Moreover, DPRK is already in extreme isolation, a situation that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. But Pyongyang never gave in. Will it waver just because China, a country that barely has any contact with it, joins the opposition bloc? Why doesn't Washington think hard and long about which regime it has ever vanquished with sanction?

The root cause is that US and South Korea's strategy is too rigid without any flexibility.

They would rather stick to the wrong policy than try something new. Tillerson admitted the "20 years of failed approach" on DPRK issue, then what was the main tone of their DPRK policy over the 20 years? It's sanction and threat, nothing else.

If Washington is only stepping up the sanction and threat, that's like squeezing the last drop of water from an already tightly wrung towel. That's no way to correct a mistake.

China didn't join the sanction against DPRK at first, but it later participated in the formulation of the sanction resolution and resolutely exercised it. Isn't China's change of attitude clear enough? In comparison, Washington refused to make the adjustment toward "two-way suspension" and "parallel approaches". Its rigidity in DPRK policy is truly disappointing.

The US and South Korea are not "absolutely correct" on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and "two-way suspension" and "parallel approaches" are definitely worth a try from a tactics' perspective. Are they afraid of losing the authority over DPRK? Powerful as they are, is it necessary to have the "authority" complex? They should really reflect on themselves.

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