6: Zhong: POSSEVI: Nuclear Non-proliferation, Power Dynamics, and Regional Stability Revisited

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China’s Approach to Address Nuclear Crisis on Korea Peninsula

After the two rounds of nuclear crisis and the incidents of Cheonan sinking and Yeonpyeong shelling, the nuclear deadlock on Korea Peninsula has become one of the most intractable international affairs in the world. DPRK’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its adventurous behaviors are viewed by the US, ROK and Japan as irrational, illegitimate, and provocative. The economic sanctions imposed by UN and ROK/US/Japan on DPRK and the strengthening of US alliance relations with ROK and Japan in return are perceived by DPRK that they are aimed to undermining the DPRK regime and are damaging DPRK’s economy and the society as a whole. China is the major economic and political patron of DPRK in the recent decades. Despite the great efforts made by China to call in US, DPRK, ROK, Japan, and Russia to conduct the Six-Party Talks that had gone for six rounds since August 2003 but has since April 2009 suspended due to the abrupt withdrawal by DPRK, China has been one focus of criticism from both DPRK and the US-led alliance front. On the one hand, US, ROK and Japan complained that China has not fully used its leverages and its status as host for Six-Party Talks to exert influence on DPRK to rein in the latter’s risky moves in the past decade. On the other hand, DPRK demanded more economic and political assistance from China and to some extent doubted if China were trying to work together with US, ROK, Japan, and Russia to cajole DPRK to accept an internationally legal-bind arrangement to restrict its autonomy to pursue national security and economic interests.