North Korea has been a source of worry to South Korea, Japan, as well as USA in last few weeks. With North Korea launching satellites, conducting underground nuclear tests and threatening US with attack, the peace in Korean peninsula is at stake. While US has conducted joint military drills with South Korea given to the current situation, the recent visit of US Secretary of State, John Kerry to China regarding this matter shows that US is betting heavily on Chinese interference to bring peace to the region.
China and North Korea have had friendly relations in the past; however, the relation turned frosty this December when North Korea refused to withdraw its satellite launch despite Chinese dissuasion. China has been deferring Kim Jong-Eun’s visit to China since then. Meanwhile, John Kerry in his meetings with Chinese officials has pushed them to be more severe on their neighbour. China is indeed the major supplier of fuel and food to North Korea, which would struggle to survive without Chinese support.
Early this month, the new President of China, Xi Jinping was quoted saying, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains”, pointing to the recent aggressive actions of North Korean administration. Peace and stability are critical for China in Korean Peninsula and it is believed that it would apply diplomatic pressure on North Korea to retract back the weapons race. Recently, there have been rumors of Chinese officials conducting drills in border area with North Korea. If the rumors are true, they point to the fact that China no more trusts North Korea as an ally. Chinese officials are reported not to be in very good terms with new young leader, Kim Jong-Eun and communication has been scarce between the two countries, since he came to power.
While UN has tightened sanctions on North Korea, China itself is not very comfortable with North Korea’s ruthless pursuit of nuclear weapons, though it will have to walk a fine line to address the issue and restore peace in the region. All eyes are now on China as to how it will deal with its Northern ally. Chinese President recently addressed in his speech at Bao, “Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticed when people are benefiting from it, but none of us can live without it.”