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Diplomatic Solution: Russia, China Unite for Peace on Korean Peninsula

© REUTERS / KCNAThe intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July 5 2017
The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July 5 2017 - Sputnik International
China and Russia are putting forward a roadmap for the settlement of the North Korean crisis via diplomatic means; however in this scenario it seems like calling the US to the round table is more difficult than calling on the DPRK, according to political analyst Konstantin Asmolov, in an interview with Sputnik.

Moscow considers it a major mistake to underestimate the Russian-Chinese roadmap for reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and creating conditions for the resumption of talks on the DPRK issue. The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, stated this at a meeting of the UN Security Council on the DPRK on Monday. 

Russia will insist on its consideration in the UN, the Russian diplomat further said. 

Beijing for its part also asked all parties involved in the resolution of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula to reconsider its "double freeze" initiative, suggesting that Pyongyang halt its nuclear program in exchange for Washington and Seoul suspending joint military drills, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday.

Joint roadmap for peace

A Chinese national flag flies at the headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, in Beijing, China, January 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
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According to Konstantin Asmolov, expert at the Institute of the Far East, the diplomatic advances of Russia and China during the drafting of the UN Security Council resolution helped to adopt a document that preserved the possibility for the settlement of the North Korean nuclear missile issue on the basis of a joint roadmap. He said that Russia and China did not allow the sanctions turn into a total economic blockade. 

“There is no complete ban on energy supplies, and there is no ban on the supply of labor. However, further on there are tough sanctions. There is a ban on the export of textiles that North Korea supplied to Europe, and this remained the last big export item,” Asmolov told Sputnik.

He further said that the DPRK must hear the international community and curtail the nuclear program. 

The United States and South Korea, for their part, after the adoption of a new UN Security Council resolution on the DPRK should avoid actions that could provoke a deterioration of the situation on the Korean peninsula; this was stated earlier by the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Geng Shuang.

Persuading all the involved parties

The problem of the Korean Peninsula should be resolved peacefully; the military way leads nowhere. “China will never allow that war and chaos break out on the Korean Peninsula,” Shuang said.

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Looking at the unfolding scenario, Asmolov said that he really wants this initiative to work although it is not perfect, but there are no other alternatives.

He further recalled an episode with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha, who during her visit to Moscow said that a “double freeze” is not an option. When the minister was asked what the way out was, she did not name an alternative. 

“Naturally, persuading North Korea is a simpler task than persuading Washington,” Asmolov added.

He explained this by saying that putting the US at the negotiating table is quite a difficult task, which is more likely connected with the domestic political situation in the United States. 

“Given the high level of demonization of North Korea and the hysteria associated with the North Korean threat, not every American president will decide to do what Richard Nixon, for example, did when he went to China. And Trump, who has a rather unstable position in domestic politics, has more room for maneuver,” Asmolov said.

Military solution is no solution

Ba Dianjun, director of the Center for Northeast Asian Studies at the University of Jilin, also told Sputnik that resolution 2378 of the UN Security Council tightened the punishment of the DPRK in such a way that there is almost no room for a “China-Russia” double freeze initiative.

“The punishment has common sense, but the tightening of sanctions does not help the solution of the DPRK nuclear problem, but rather only worsens the situation, only leads to a war between the DPRK and the US. It is necessary to focus on the "double freeze" road map, at the same time the international community should push and persuade the US to get them to sit down at the negotiating table,” Dianjun said.

He further said that after the sixth nuclear test, the US has not changed its attitude to this initiative. On the contrary, they toughened pressure and sanctions against the DPRK. Military exercises involving the United States, Japan and South Korea also had no deterrent effect. 

“From this point of view, they do not make sense. This also led to large discrepancies between China, Russia, on the one hand, and the US, on the other. The US is trying to shift its responsibility to China in solving the Korean problem, and this only worsens the situation and delays the prospect of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the expert said.

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