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China unlikely to press North Korea towards denuclearisation

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Communist China is highly unlikely to ideological counterpart North Korea towards denuclearisation. The North supports China on the thorny issues of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Ever since Joe R Biden, Jr. took over the White House, the United States, Japan and South Korea have focused on devising a trilateral mechanism that would enable them to meet the threat they perceive in North Korea's ongoing nuclear missile programme. Some strategists suggest Washington, Tokyo and Seoul could rope in Beijing to press Pyongyang towards its denuclearisation. One finds this suggestion makes little sense.

China unlikely to press North Korea towards denuclearisation

Observers say the North is highly unlikely to agree to any suggestion to this effect. At the Eighth Party Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (January 5- 12, 2021), North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un described the "completion of the great cause of building a state nuclear force" as "of the greatest significance in national history."

Will Japan and South Korea go nuclear? Will Japan and South Korea go nuclear?

He declared the North had already succeeded in completing a hydrogen bomb and successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles. Kim also demonstrated a desire to further develop nuclear weapons for 'defensive purposes'.

Dictator Kim seems to calculate the possession of nuclear weapons would help his regime to secure the loyalty of officials and the North Korean people and tighten its control over the country. Besides, its nuclear deterrence would deter the world's only superpower from seriously considering any military options against it. Also, it gives Pyongyang a military edge over its much richer neighbours, such as South Korea and Japan, which have the shield of US defence.

Also, Kim may be calculating, the North has no alternative to its nuclear armament right now. Because of the UN sanctions regime, China and Russia have refused to provide or sell modern weaponry to Pyongyang. Nuclear armament, which enables Pyongyang to spend much less on its defence, is hence the best option.

Of course, China has the clout to influence the North. Today, it is an alternative source of economic aid for Pyongyang. The North has 93 per cent of its external trade with China. But communist China is highly unlikely to press the its ideological counterpart North towards denuclearisation. The North supports China on the thorny issues of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

North Korea fires missile towards East Sea — reportNorth Korea fires missile towards East Sea — report

Recently, dictator Kim was quick to send a congratulatory letter to Chinese supremo Xi Jinping when the latter secured a precedent-breaking third leadership term . In his letter, Kim described it as "a significant landmark for the Chinese party and people in propelling the historic process of the Chinese nation's great prosperity under the banner of the socialist idea with the Chinese characteristics in the new era."

(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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