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The Chinese Take On Korean Realities, “Thawing a Budding Cold War”

The Chinese Take On Korean Realities, “Thawing a Budding Cold War”

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July 4 (LPAC)–An opinion piece in {China Daily} presents “A Chinese View of the Strategic Realities on the Korea Peninsula” during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seoul.

“[A] warmer relationship between China and the R.O.K. [South Korea] will prevent a new Cold War from emerging in Northeast Asia….

“China remains opposed the D.P.R.K.’s [North Korea’s] pursuit of nuclear weapons, which severely harms China’s national interests. In fact, Beijing expects Pyongyang to focus on economic development rather than seek nuclear weapons. Only by doing so will there be a chance of rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula. However, Beijing continues to insist that the D.P.R.K.’s security concerns need to be considered if it is to be encouraged back on a sound track.

“The U.S. has used the growing tension on the Korean Peninsula over the past five years as an excuse to return to the Asia-Pacific. The D.P.R.K.’s ill-considered underground nuclear test in 2009 started a longstanding confrontation on the Peninsula….

“The U.S.’s ‘pivot’ to Asia, which it claimed was to secure regional safety, has emboldened countries such as Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines to provoke more regional tensions with groundless territorial accusations and reckless actions.

“From Beijing’s perspective, sticking to its previous Korean Peninsula policy, which prioritized the traditional friendship with Pyongyang, will only place it in a strategic dilemma if the D.P.R.K. continues to threaten the Japan-U.S. and R.O.K.-U.S. military alliances with nuclear weapons.

“Meanwhile, Seoul, which is playing a bigger strategic role in the Asia-Pacific due to its ‘awkward’ position, craves political and economic support from both the U.S. and China to advance the reunification of Korea….

“If Seoul chooses to be at the command of Washington in diplomacy, a new Cold War is very likely to be triggered by a one-sided game in which the U.S. hegemony enjoys overwhelming superiority. However, if it develops multilateral relations with both Beijing and Washington, East Asia will be in a more stable state. Hence Xi’s visit to Seoul is inspiring because it shows Beijing’s proactive effort to preserve regional peace in East Asia.

“Of course, a warmer relationship between Beijing and Seoul is unlikely to please Japan and the U.S. What Japan fears most is Beijing and Seoul joining hands to oppose the worrying rightist trend in Japan. China and the R.O.K. have both taken a firm stance against Japan’s attempts to rewrite wartime history.

“The U.S. is concerned that tighter Beijing-Seoul ties might weaken its alliance with the R.O.K., and lead to the failure of its efforts to contain China. However, what Washington should be really upset about is the Abe Administration’s vicious ambition to regain military power.”

The piece is by Jin Qiangyi, a professor of Korean Studies at Yanbian University in Jilin province.

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