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Defusing peninsula tension

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-11 08:01

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is dangerous. The magnitude of the tensions is hair-raising, alarming its neighbors and drawing grave concerns from the rest of the world. Any miscalculation by any party in the tense standoff may prove disastrous, for itself and the region at large.

Since the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on March 7 condemning the third nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Pyongyang has been ratcheting up its warmongering.

On Tuesday, the DPRK urged all foreigners in the Republic of Korea to evacuate, saying that the two countries are on the verge of a nuclear war. Earlier, it called for diplomats to leave Pyongyang by Wednesday, as it could not guarantee their safety. It is speculated that the country might conduct a missile test between April 10 and 15.

Pyongyang may have sufficient reasons to demonstrate its security concerns, and, as a sovereign state, it is entitled to enhance its national defense and to develop its science and technology. But it has no excuse for defying the UNSC resolutions that require it to drop its nuclear program and suspend any launches using anti-ballistic missile technology.

Pyongyang should understand the more it employs tit-for-tat retaliations or adopts a warmongering strategy the less flexibility it offers those who are still keen on seeking political and diplomatic resolutions to defuse the tensions. The rising pitch of its war rhetoric, instead of scaring its perceived enemies, is actually pushing itself into a corner. The tactic is dangerous and the consequences unaffordable.

Its war rhetoric has significantly complicated the situation and compromised the legitimacy of its own security concerns.

A chaotic situation on the peninsula is in neither side's interest. One misstep will shatter the fragile peace and stability on the peninsula. The United States, the ROK and Japan, as the other side in the standoff, also have a stake in regional peace and stability. While readying themselves for the possible worst-case scenario, they should also refrain from any provocative move that may invite a desperate response from Pyongyang. Even with their military superiority, a head-on clash will be costly.

As a close neighbor of the two Koreas, China will not allow troublemaking on its doorstep. The message is loud and clear that it opposes any move or intention that aims to resolve the dispute by force.

(China Daily 04/11/2013 page8)

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