Since the North Korean nuclear issue first flared up in the early 1990s, many people have called for and expected a change in China’s North Korea policy. Despite the fact that it is wishful thinking that China would adopt a North Korea policy counter to its national interests, people continue to vigorously push China to abandon North Korea. China’s refusal to do so fuels North Korea’s audacity to escalate provocation, as well as U.S. pressure on China, including sanctions on China for its failure to change North Korea’s bad behavior. China is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Therefore, given the nature of the dilemma, it is no surprise that after the sixth nuclear test by North Korea earlier this month, new proposals emerged from Chinese academic elites that China should begin a contingency dialogue with the United States over North Korea. Neither was it surprising that such a proposal was met with fierce criticism from the more conservative camp of scholars in China. Such a debate has persisted for a while. The world has been watching the Chinese political elite resent and despise the North Korean regime, while still continuing economic and political support of it.
This article was originally published by China-US Focus on September 21, 2017. Read the full article here.