Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

DPRK's nuke test threatens regional stability

By Wang Junsheng (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-11 07:56

The test actually poses a rather palpable threat to China and the Northeast Asian community, because it leads to a new vicious cycle on the Korean Peninsula. It has prompted the ROK to take a tougher stance and the US to expand its regional military presence, even Japan has said it will expedite its "defense-oriented" military development. Should the tensions on the peninsula keep escalating, Beijing could turn out to be the biggest third-party victim in the region.

A Korean Peninsula in disorder would further complicate the relationship between China and the DPRK, which plays a key role in safeguarding both countries' interests and regional peace and stability.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always unequivocally opposed the DPRK's nuclear program and urged it to honor its commitment to denuclearization. It should support the UNSC's decision to deal with Pyongyang's latest violation of relevant resolutions on banning the development of nuclear weapons, while watching closely the possible intervention of Washington and Seoul, which have always harbored doubts about Kim's leadership.

In particular, China ought to discourage them from attempting to create disputes on the common border shared by the ROK and the DPRK, in their pursuit of overthrowing the latter's ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

The ongoing unrest on the peninsula, for which the DPRK has unshirkable responsibility, also has a lot to do with other regional players including the US, the ROK, and Japan, which have constantly imposed military and political pressures on Pyongyang. Seoul's increasing desire to lead the reunification of the two Koreas is a case in point.

Therefore, as a responsible major power in the region, China should seek to stabilize its relationship with Pyongyang to alleviate its worries about the imbalanced geopolitical structure, and prompt all parties concerned to exercise restraint.

The author is an associate professor at the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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