As the world watches China take a strong stand against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the world has noticed that President Xi Jinping, China’s Communist Party chief, has made it a point to personally visit all the Asian members of the international Nuclear Suppliers Group in Pyongyang recently.
As a result, Washington’s credibility, along with that of its allies, is on the line — and not a good one in this case, as Mr. Xi’s visit is a clear and clear signal that the Chinese are taking a much stronger role in confronting North Korea’s belligerent behavior.
First, as China goes all-in by imposing additional sanctions, U.S. officials are starting to realize the problem they face.
“Xi’s speech in New York reinforces the message that China and North Korea are not mutually exclusive. And yet, China’s move should have been seen coming: China will continue to hold the line and will do everything possible, just as it has done from 2012 onward, to maintain an international consensus against North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests,” said Adam Segal, who wrote a 2012 report on China’s behavior in North Korea for the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“At the same time, Xi is sending a signal to Washington that Beijing is not going to allow the United States to use diplomatic pressure to impose on North Korea unacceptable risks — to China’s detriment. Xi must make sure Beijing remains in charge, but will accept no ‘chaos,'” he added.
Mr. Segal’s report, “North Korea and the China-North Korea Strategic Vision,” is a must-read for anyone with questions about China’s ties to North Korea and Russia. It was published last January, just after North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test.
“Since then, though, there have been signs that China might be moving toward the edge of a deal with Russia to restrict North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs,” Mr. Segal wrote, citing statements by senior Chinese officials with the State Council and China’s envoy to the U.N. to the U.N. on Wednesday.
In his New York speech, Mr. Xi urged North Korea — the world’s only nuclear-armed state — to accept its responsibility for defying international pressure.
“China remains resolute in condemning the reckless actions by the North Korean regime,” he said in remarks in New York delivered in three parts.
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