China Will Not Help To "Punish" North Korea
Notice how this sets up a rather infantile false choice. China could also just ignore the test and do nothing. China could also chose to do some other stuff. It could embrace North Korea by delivering more energy to it. It could ensure North Korea that it would defend it with all its might should there be any attack on it thereby rendering the North Korean nuclear program unnecessary. There are many possibilities besides punish small and punish big.
The piece continues by framing this as a China U.S. relation issue:
U.S. missile defense is being build to render Russia's and China's nuclear deterrence useless. The hope is that it will enable first-strike capability. The U.S. could kill off most of Russia's or China's nukes while having some reasonable hope that its missile defense system will be capable of holding of a much diminished retaliation strike.
No one in China believes that the U.S. will ever stop its missile defense plans in Asia. It is obviously part of Washington's program to contain China. But just imagine China would really agree to some serious pressure on North Korea while the U.S. would offer a promise or even a treaty that it will not build up its missile defense. How long would such a promise hold?
The U.S. promised to North Korea to build it two reactors for electricity production should North Korea end its Plutonium program. North Korea did end its Pu program but those reactors were never built.
China knows better than to believe that treaties the U.S. signs will not be broken. It has its own experience. The current hustle with Japan about the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands is just one broken treaty example:
China needs North Korea as a buffer against U.S. troops at its borders. It will not do anything to ruin North Korea as a chaotic and dissolving neighbor would be a huge security problem for Beijing. Some slower build up of U.S. missile defense would not solve that problem.
China will probably agree to some mild sanctions on North Korea. An even better strategy would be for the U.S. to come to its senses and to make finally peace with North Korea thereby making its nuclear capabilities unnecessary. China should and could support that by giving security guarantees.
This article was originally posted at Moon Of Alabama
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