China Condemns North Korea's Bomb Testing as the U.S. Holds Strong

China Condemns North Korea's Bomb Testing as the U.S. Holds Strong
Photo Credit:AP/達志影像
What you need to know

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that it was an H-bomb to its citizens as a display of his leadership and also to bring the international spotlight to North Korea. Though there is lack of authenticity to the H-bomb, it has upset many governments and has called into question how North Korea should be contained.

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Compiled by Vic Chiang and Eric Tsai

On January 10, the United States deployed a B-52 bomber flanked by two fighter planes, a U.S. F-16 and a South Korean F-15 to South Korea before returning to Guam. This was a show of power from the United States towards North Korea’s claim to the detonation of a hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) earlier on January 6.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that it was an H-bomb to its citizens as a display of his leadership and also to bring the international spotlight to North Korea. Despite Kim’s announcement, many experts doubt the claims. Though there is lack of authenticity to the H-bomb, it has upset many governments and has called into question how North Korea should be contained.

China has expressed its discontent with this bomb testing. “China strongly opposes this act,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a news conference. “China will firmly push for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, further stated China’s position on the issue by telling Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, “There have been several complications with the North Korean nuclear issue, but China has consistently held to three principles: denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, guarding the peninsula’s peace and stability and resolving the issue peacefully through dialogue.”

China and North Korea’s relationship dates back to the Korean War as Chinese Communist troops fought for the North. To date, China is North Korea’s largest economic ally, with trade between the two countries amounting to US$6.4 billion in 2014.

However, if China punishes North Korea, this risks the destabilization of the North and having the U.S. assisting to pacify the region. Such intervention would be a setback to China’s growing influence in Asia. North Korea is also a major tool for Beijing “in the bigger chess game of U.S.-China relations in the Asia Pacific region," says Lee Jung Hoon, professor of International Relations at Yonsei University.

North Korea, having issues with electricity and feeding its people, has also reached out to the U.S. to resume negotiations for diplomatic relations. However, the U.S. is still maintaining its position to not negotiate with North Korea unless the country goes through with nuclear disarmament.

However, the New York Times brought up that unlike Iran, North Korea does not have the oil supplies or international value. This means it has no incentive for their nuclear disarmament in order to have international business. To North Korea, their nuclear armament and international threat is the sole reason they are under the international spotlight.

With both China and North Korea boasting their powers but also seeking international confirmation, they are both stuck between a rock and a hard place as the U.S. watches on the sideline.

Edited by Eric Tsai and Olivia Yang

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