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Updated: 2009-11-05 08:40

Another view on nuclear-free DPRK

Recently, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed conditionally to return to the Six-Party Talks.

Many people consider that the main players on this nuclear issue are the DPRK and the United States. Even the initiator and the host of the Six-Party Talks - China - agrees tacitly. But I hold a different view: That China should play a much more important role and act as the main player in the DPRK nuclear issue. The reasons are:

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First, from a geo-political viewpoint, China borders the DPRK. Hence, it is in China's core national interest to have a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, just like the US won't allow the appearance of another nuclear power in the Americas.

Second, China has always been the DPRK's closest friend and the biggest provider of foreign aid since the 1950s. Hence, China has a wide range of leverages in relation with the DPRK. The most important reason for the DPRK's nuclearization effort is to defend its national security with nuclear deterrence. The DPRK feels extremely insecure because the US views it as a rogue country, while the US is afraid of being attacked by the DPRK with nuclear weapons as well as the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other states or even terrorist groups. There is enormous mistrust between the two countries. So, why should the parties concerned not offer the DPRK a national security guarantee? The DPRK will probably drop its nuclear plan if it feels secure.

Last, the US might not intend to resolve the nuclear issue in a short period of time, because this unresolved issue provides the excuse for the US to strengthen its allied relationship with Japan and the ROK, as well as the legitimacy of its long-time military presence in this region to hedge China. In this approach, the US can still dominate the Asia-Pacific region for a long time.

Xu Jiaqing

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(China Daily 11/05/2009 page8)