It is widely known that China disapproves of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, but it is equally known that China has been working diligently to help deescalate tensions in the region.
China’s penultimate goal is to bring both Washington and Pyongyang to the negotiating table in order to speak directly. China has resolved to avoid war at all costs and should be commended for taking such a mature and far-sighted position.
China’s patience and maturity is being increasingly ignored not only by America but also by North Korea.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency ran a hit-piece against China that seemed to imply Pyongyang is willing to risk alienating China in order to maintain its nuclear programme.
According to the piece in KCNA,
“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is”.
The statement continued,
“China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience… (and) had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations”.
The typically melodramatic statement from North Korea was met with calm and honesty from China. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated,
“China’s position on developing friendly, good-neighbourly relations with North Korea is also consistent and clear”.
Geng reiterated China’s position in support of resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula using methods limited to peaceful diplomatic discussions.
Just as Russia is one of the few countries still willing to be patient enough to put up with the tantrums of Turkish President Erdogan, so too is China the only country that has the stamina to deal with the North Korean government. North Korea’s threatening statement towards China is not only immature but counterproductive, including for North Korea’s own national interests.
China is caught between the rock of American arrogance and North Korean bluster. It’s not an easy palce to be but China’s experienced officials seem to be handling it well.