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Chinese Military Role Downplayed

Posted December. 09, 2006 10:24,   


Chinese People`s Liberation Army (PLA) Assistant to the Chief of General Staff Zhang Qinsheng said in October, “Even in case an emergency breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, there is little possibility of Chinese military intervention."

Assistant Chief Zhang, who ranks third in power order within the General Staff Office and has the deep trust of President Hu Jintao, made the aforementioned comment during a closed seminar carried out from October 22 to 24 in Beijing.

Being asked whether the Chinese military will intervene in case an abrupt situation arises in North Korea, he answered, “The Chinese military prefers the matter be solved by international bodies, especially the UN. If you see Chinese military involved, it would be in the form of a party to a UN force."

This principle differs from the view of Chinese experts who assume that "in case an emergency arises in North Korea, the Chinese government is highly likely to implement military strategies with the People’s Liberation Army, and the core personnel in China`s military in particular share this view."

Professor Kim Heung-gyu of Institute of Foreign Affairs & National Security who attended this seminar told the story and added, “Taking into consideration the decision-making structure in China, a high-ranking military official revealing such a principle in an international seminar can be interpreted to indicate that China has internally settled discussions on emergencies in the Korean Peninsula and has come up with countermeasures."

"The comment by Assistant Chief Zhang is intended to compose the concerns of neighboring nations and in a way serves as a message warning the U.S. not to intervene alone,” Professor Kim interpreted.

This seminar was attended by national policy researchers from 15 nations such as Korea, the U.S., Japan and Russia, under the agenda, "Peace, Development, and Security in Asia."

Meanwhile, Professor Kim, in his dissertation on the discussions in the October seminar in Beijing and recent interviews with high-ranking officials in China called "North Korea’s Nuclear Test and China`s Diplomacy with North Korea," presented five principles of China`s policy toward the Korean Peninsula in case an abrupt situation arises in North Korea.

The principles are: prompt stabilization and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, disapproval of an anti-China North Korean regime, the prevention of military collisions on an international scale, settling the matter through international mediations by such as the UN, and warding off military intervention by the U.S. in the Korean Peninsula and settling the matter through negotiations with the U.S.