Home Contact Us  
   

East Asia: Japan, Australia and the Koreas - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5092, 2 August 2016
 

East Asia Compass

China’s Game on North Korea
Sandip Kumar Mishra
Associate Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
 

It was a strange moment of diplomacy in Laos when North Korea tried to bring about a revision in the chairman’s statement issued at the 23rd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The statement was issued on 27 July after the conclusion of the two-day meetings of foreign ministers of the 27 member countries of the ARF. The chair country Laos, which has good relations with North Korea, tried to explore the possibility of revising the statement but had to finally reject it because all other countries were in opposition. In fact, in the usual manner, ARF’s statement this year expressed concern over North Korean nuclear and missile programmes. Almost similar statements were issued at previous ARFs in 2015 and 2014 in Malaysia and Myanmar respectively, at which North Korea had not brought up the possibility of such revision.

In another interesting move, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho stayed two more days in Laos after the end of the ARF. This could be seen as a move to consolidate North Korea's friends in the Southeast Asian region. However, it also may not be totally delinked from the ARF dynamics. Even though more sanctions and pressures on North Korea have been put by the international community after its fourth nuclear test in January this year, North Korea seems to be becoming increasingly confident. The secret of this renewed confidence is basically China’s U-turn in its policy towards North Korea.

In the last few years, the South China Sea and East China Sea have emerged as an arena of tension and for power projection. Aggressive Chinese moves and the uncompromising stands of the other involved countries, including the US, had led to a worrisome situation in regional politics. China under Xi Jinping apparently has fully abandoned the old dictum of ‘build your capacity and hide your strength’ and now demands ‘great-power relations’ with the US. Earlier, China tried to placate some US allies such as South Korea, through diplomatic means and aspired to outsmart the US in the region. However, in the process, it distanced itself from North Korea without being successful in creating any gap in the US-South Korea alliance.

Two recent developments - the US success in persuading/pressuring South Korea to have Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system installed on the Korean peninsula and the judgement of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on the South China Sea - have been major setbacks for China. Now, China can either move backward and yield or it can move forward more aggressively in regional politicking. At present, it seems that China has opted for the second and initiated a more overt policy to dominate the region. In the process, the significance of North Korea in Chinese foreign policy has become more salient. In 2016, China has been trying to accommodate North Korean ambitions and repair its bilateral relations with Pyongyang, though North Korea has not shown any sign of compromise on most Chinese demands, such as economic reforms and abandoning nuclear weapons. China entertained the former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong in Beijing in May 2015 and arranged his meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping despite no change in North Korean behaviour.

China’s game with regard to North Korea has become more obvious with the foreign ministers of China and North Korea arriving together, in the same airplane, from China to Laos, to participate in one of the region's broadest multilateral fora, the ARF. Furthermore, to make this camaraderie even more obvious, the two leaders stayed in the same hotel. It was done deliberately by China to show the international community about its non-compromising intent in regional politics.

China's new game is going to be responded to by the big players in the region, such as the US, Japan, Australia and India, by their moving closer to one another in military-strategic cooperation. In fact, China is not oblivious to this fact, and in spite of knowing these counter responses, is ready to escalate the matter.

Both sides must remember that a full-scale war or conflict between the big players cannot be a pragmatic option given the cost attached to it. A military solution to any of these regional issues is next to impossible. The escalation of hostility and non-compromising stands would create a dilemma for the smaller, more responsible countries of the region to take sides, and provide space for irresponsible and ‘rogue’ countries like North Korea to manoeuvre. It is important that the big players understand this reality and be more imaginative and accommodating in pursuing their national interests.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Park Geun-hye's Impeachment and South Korean Foreign Policy

US Tactical Nukes in the Korean Peninsula?

Forecast 2017: East Asia

Japan-China Contestation in 2017

Donald Trump and East Asia

PM Modi’s Visit to Japan: Prospects and Prudence

Future of the TPP and the US' Pivot to Asia

Russia’s Overtures in East Asia

Six-Party Talks 2.0: Not for Denuclearisation but for Peace

Deadlock at Shangri-La: Is There a Way Forward?

North Korea’s 7th Party Congress: Context and Content

Japan’s New Security Laws: Context and Implications

What is the Efficacy of Sanctions on North Korea?

‘Brilliant’ Comrade: The Design in North Korean Madness

Forecast 2016: East Asia on the Cusp

Japan-South Korea: Resolving the Comfort Women Issue

China’s Maritime Assertiveness and Repercussions

China-Japan-South Korea: A New Beginning?

India-Japan-US Trilateral: India’s Policy for the Indo-Pacific

China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia

Many ‘Pivots to Asia’: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?

On the 10th Anniversary of the East Asian Summit

Implications of Modi’s Three-Nation Tour in East Asia

Shinzo Abe: Changing his Stance?

South Korea: US THAAD or Chinese AIIB?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.