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English>>Foreign Affairs

Beijing won’t allow war on Peninsula

(Global Times)    11:10, February 04, 2016

N.Korea’s nuclear tests slap in face of ‘relevant country’

China will "by no means allow war on the Korean Peninsula" a foreign ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, stressing Beijing was deeply concerned over Pyongyang's announced plan to launch a satellite later this month, only weeks after it tested a nuclear bomb in defiance of international sanctions.

"We are seriously concerned … The DPRK has the right to make peaceful use of space, but this right is subject to restrictions of the Security Council resolutions," Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry told a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, a day after reports revealed that North Korea is planning to launch what it called an "earth observation satellite" sometime between February 8 and 25.

Lu advised North Korea to exercise restraint and refrain from any actions that might escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

He also warned related countries against taking any action to deepen confrontations.

"As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, we will by no means allow war or instability on the Peninsula," Lu said. "We will by no means allow any country to pursue its selfish gains while the international community is working for the target of denuclearization."

The announcement triggered a strong reaction in the international community.

Chinese experts said the launch is an "obstinate move" that could incite "catastrophic" sanctions against the country, but is unlikely to lead to head-on confrontations with the US, South Korea, Japan and China.

The announcement of the satellite launch plans, revealed by the International Maritime Organization on Tuesday, came the same day as Chinese special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs, Wu Dawei, arrived in Pyongyang for the first time since the North said it had detonated a nuclear bomb on January 6.

Wu remains in Pyongyang on a bilateral exchange, said Lu. He is "exchanging views with the DPRK on the current situation of the Korea Peninsula," Lu said, without elaborating.

Regardless of better conditions for negotiations due to frequent exchanges between Chinese and North Korean officials after January 6, North Korea's latest move highlights its obstinate determination to become a nuclear-weapons state, said Lü Chao, a professor at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

"The launch is part of North Korea's military plan as it has to enhance its ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons and advance missile carriers," Gao Fei, a professor of Russian studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

The launch will also pave the way for the seventh Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in May to demonstrate Kim Jong-un's sole and absolute leadership, as the sixth congress held over three decades ago confirmed late ruler Kim Jong-il's status, Lü said.

The timing indicates that the launch is likely to coincide with Kim Jong-il's birthday, which falls on February 16, Gao noted.

Sanctions argument

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu responded strongly after a journalist asked for comment on US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel's remarks that Pyongyang's latest move is a slap in the face of those arguing against more sanctions.

"As the chair of the Six-Party Talks, the Chinese side has made strenuous efforts to make genuine progress in denuclearization and encourage all parties concerned to reach aforementioned consensus," he said.

"During the stalemate in the Six-Party Talks, in response to relevant countries' constant outcry for pressure and sanctions, the DPRK started nuclear testing and conducted them over and over again. In this sense, the DPRK did slap the relevant country across the face. As to whose face the DPRK slapped, the country itself knows well."

The Six-Party Talks have been suspended since North Korea withdrew on April 14, 2009 in protest against the UN Security Council's condemnation of North Korea's launch of a satellite 10 days earlier.

The White House said Tuesday that any satellite launch by North Korea would be viewed as "another destabilizing provocation." Russel, also the senior US diplomat for East Asia, said it "argues even more strongly" for tougher UN sanctions, Reuters reported.

Japan placed its military on alert on Wednesday in case a North Korean rocket threatens Japan, while South Korea warned the North will pay a "severe price" if it proceeds with a satellite launch that Seoul considers a ballistic missile test.

If North Korea does launch the satellite, Lü noted that sanctions will be catastrophic for the country, depressing the economy even further.

However, the present tensions are unlikely to evolve into direct confrontations by the US or Japan other than making tough statements, given that it is South Korea that will suffer the aftermath, Gao said.

The US does not feel threatened since it is difficult for North Korea to recover any missiles it launches, so it cannot precisely target intercontinental ballistic missiles at the US, even if it can manufacture and launch them, Lü noted.

The second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite was launched into orbit atop a carrier rocket on December 12, 2012, the Korean Central News Agency reported. Japan confirmed that the rocket passed over Okinawa, but the Japanese military did not intercept it, according to Russia's Sputnik News Agency. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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