China’s changing calculus on North Korea

General Fang Fenghui, the PLA Chief of the General Staff had some tough words for North Korea during the press conference following his meeting with General Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Tuesday last week:

China is resolutely opposed to North Korea’s nuclear tests. As far as we can tell, they have carried out their third nuclear test and may be preparing for a fourth. Faced with this situation, we wish to work well in common with all sides on all sides to make the North Koreans suspend nuclear testing and nuclear weapons production. A denuclearized Korean Peninsula is in the common interests of all sides. [1]

Fang’s statement is the latest signal from Beijing that North Korea’s recent actions are unacceptable. It comes after a string of similar comments from the Chinese leadership. At the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum, President Xi Jinping said, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains,” a statement widely interpreted as an oblique censure of North Korea.

David Mulroony

Asia Times Online, Hong Kong

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