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Beijing should press Pyongyang over provocations

Posted August. 23, 2015 23:02,   


The Chinese government has been silent over North Korea`s artillery provocation against South Korea, without expressing any official reaction. However, Qiu Guohong, the Chinese ambassador to South Korea, said Friday that both Seoul and Pyngyang should exercise self-restraint and resolve their disputes through dialogue. Considering that Beijing showed a similar attitude every time the North`s provocation escalated military tensions between the two Koreas, the Chinese envoy`s remarks do not seem to express only his personal opinion. It is not right to equally treat the provocateur and the provoked one that reacted for self-defense and urge them to exercise self-restraints. Would Beijing do nothing when it is unilaterally shelled by another country?

China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council which is responsible for world peace. Foreign media are reporting on the possibility of a war between the two Korea due to Pyongyang`s artillery provocation. In order to prevent an armed clash on the Korean Peninsula, China should fulfill its duty befitting its international status.

North Korea is cheeky enough to deny responsibility for the land mine and artillery provocations across the demilitarized zone, just as it did at the time of the 2012 torpedo attack on a South Korean naval vessel. Rather, Pyongyang is further heightening the level of tensions by declaring a "quasi-state of war," claiming that Seoul has provoked it first. The North has also shown its duplicity by taking appeasement gestures while secretly developing nuclear weapons and missiles. This is the true face of North Korea.

Pyongyang`s provocation came just as Beijing is preparing for large-scale events to celebrate its "victory" in its wars against Imperial Japan and fascism. Some speculate that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is intentionally provoking the South in order to make an excuse for not attending the events. For Kim, who did not attend Russia`s war victory events, it would be difficult to go to China. Regardless of his attendance, heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula could make it difficult for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to attend the Chinese ceremonies.

President Park`s decision to attend them and South Korea`s joining the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank were made partly in consideration of Seoul`s ties with Beijing together with the South`s national interest. The South Korean government showed its sincerity toward China by repatriating the remains of Chinese soldiers killed during the Korean War. If China is to stop the Kim Jong Un regime from playing with fire, it would be best to strengthen pressure on the North through international cooperation. If China is determined to carry out the victory day events smoothly and defend peace in Northeast Asia, Beijing should not balk at giving warnings to and putting pressure on Pyongyang.