Home Contact Us  
   

Nuclear - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5331, 19 July 2017
 

Strategic Space

Chinese Responsibility on DPRK: No ‘Theory’, Immutable Reality
Manpreet Sethi
Senior Fellow and Project Leader, Nuclear Security, Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), New Delhi
 

Recent videos from North Korea - or Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - show their Supreme Commander of the Army, Kim Jong-un, chuckling away as he watches his country’s missile launches. Indeed with the recent test of the claimed ICBM, which has been justified by the country as a legitimate right to self defence, the 'Dear Leader' has several reasons to smile. It is the US that is fuming, faced as it is with rather grim options. Exasperated, US President Donald Trump has not been shy of accusing China of not living up to its responsibility to help defang North Korea of its nuclear weapons. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US was at the end of its strategic patience.

Cheekily, China advised him to undertake proactive diplomacy with the DPRK instead. Refusing to accept American allegations, China has hit hard at what it calls the “China responsibility theory.” It maintains that the core of the problem is the security conflict between the US and the DPRK and that the two should handle it themselves. As stated by the Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman, “China is neither the focus of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, nor the one that escalates the tension.” Rather, it claims to have played a “constructive role” in trying to find a solution and accuses vested interests of “confusing public opinion.” 

Indeed, the North Korean nuclear imbroglio is far more complicated for any one country to solve. But, China is punching far below its weight on the DPRK when it shirks its responsibility on the matter by dismissing it as a ‘theory’. After all, China was responsible for the creation of the problem when it provided tacit support to the Kim dynasty’s nuclear efforts, including facilitation of cooperation through other beneficiaries of its own nuclear weapons largesse. And, it is China that still wields the maximum amount of leverage through its economic and political relations with an otherwise isolated Communist regime. While China has gone along on some of the more recent UN Security Council resolutions that sanction the DPRK, it has been careful not to take any measures that destabilise the regime. The US, though, alleges that China ignores/condones/allows some Chinese enterprises to continue working with North Korea. In fact, one Chinese bank was cut out of the American financial system for allegedly being involved in laundering money for North Korea. 

Is there a way out of these allegation and counter-allegations of the big powers? It is clear that Kim Jong-un would like to leverage his nuclear and missile programme as a bargaining chip. The key lies in finding what he would be willing to settle for.

China has seconded the DPRK's suggestion of a halt of US-South Korea military exercises in exchange for a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests by the DPRK. This might not be a bad idea especially since South Korea's President, Moon Jae-in, has taken a first step in indicating his willingness to have talks with his neighbour. But the time so gained through this double suspension and the ultimate objective of the talks would have to be to provide a sense of security to the regime.

This would only be possible through some sort of an acceptance of its nuclear status, an issue that has evoked much indignation in the US and South Korea since any hint of grant of such status to a ‘rogue’ nation is deemed anathema to the non-proliferation hardliners. 

While this is understandable, it is often forgotten that other nations described as rogue at another point of time in history have been accommodated in the past. China itself was one of them. In 1966, two years after China tested its nuclear weapon, it was described as a rogue regime when the then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Mao Zedong, began the bloody Cultural Revolution in which millions of Chinese died and when it aggressively sought to export its revolution to other countries. But within five years of the Chinese nuclear test, the US had engaged the country in a dialogue, though covertly at first. 

The point of the above paragraph is not to condone the actions of North Korea, but to provide a perspective. It must be accepted that denuclearisation of the DPRK is not a possibility. Even a military offensive has little chance of success, but it would certainly extract a very high cost on human life. The next best thing then to do would be to engage the country in such a way as to enhance its sense of security to eventually reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons, enmesh it in an architecture of verifiable safeguards, and nudge its nuclear thinking and behaviour along more acceptable norms. Then, in time, if universal nuclear disarmament was ever to become a reality, North Korea could also join in as another nuclear possessor.

It does not behove China, and nor is it in its regional security interest, to dismiss its responsibility in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis as mere theory. Countries become great powers by taking responsibility for matters of international concern, not merely by announcing huge projects, counting only ‘rogue’ regimes amongst their best friends, and winning over smaller nations only with money and military muscle.

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
The Bomb Banned: By and For the NNWS, For Now

Stabilising Deterrence: Doctrines Score Over Numbers

Indian Nuclear Policy and Diplomacy

New NPR: Can It Break New Ground?

US-North Korea Military Swashbuckling and China's Role

Nuclear Ban Treaty Conference and Universal Nuclear Disarmament

Forecast 2017: Unclear Nuclear Pathways

Limits of Practising Nuclear Brinksmanship

Presidential Elections and US Nuclear Policy: Clinton Vs Trump

Preparing for Radiological Emergencies and Terrorism

Motivating Pakistan to Prevent Cross–Border Terrorism: With a Little Help from Friends

JCPOAs First Anniversary: Significance and Future Challenges

Entry into the NSG: Getting Past the Doorman

Same Age, Different Behaviour: Nuclear India and Nuclear Pakistan

Nuclear Security Summit Process: Progress and Prognosis

Pak's Nuclear 'Normality' through External Deals: Chasing a Chimera

Forecast 2016: Nuclear Issues That Will Dominate the Year

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

Uranium and Nuclear Power: Three Indian Stories

A Strategic Review for India

Indian Ratification of the Additional Protocol: Mischievous Reports Miss its Significance

Time for India-China Nuclear-speak

India and No First Use: Preventing Deterrence Breakdown

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  May  June  July  August  September  October
 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.