China is not only struggling to manage its unruly financial markets, North-Korea´s latest nuclear test shows that international diplomacy is not yet one of its strong point, says political analyst Paul French in America Magazine. Managing North-Korea from Beijing is no longer possible.
North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006. Wednesday’s test registered as a 5.1 earthquake, which analysts say makes the bomb larger than anything the rogue nation has exploded before, but not large enough to be a true hydrogen bomb, which is many times more powerful than a simple atomic bomb.
Regardless of the bomb’s size, the damage to relations to North Korea’s relationship with China, upon which it still relies for food and numerous basic raw materials, is clear.
“Since the last test in 2013 China has cooled considerably in its friendship with North Korea. Now, after the fourth test, they are clearly mad as hell with Kim and Pyongyang. Many in the Chinese leadership feel the regime in Pyongyang is blackmailing them with nuclear tests in return for increased aid. China is focused on its economic downturn and doesn’t need a troublesome neighbor,” Paul French, the author of North Korea: State of Paranoia, told America via Facebook Messenger.
While its management of North Korea was once a regional bargaining chip for Beijing, its lack of influence there is instead a growing problem.
“Whilst China is an economic superpower it has not yet emerged as a diplomatic superpower. This is an opportunity for them to step up, reconvene and lead a new round of Six-Party Talks and, at the same time, work closely with America to find an Iran-style solution to North Korea. They could play this as a win, get international kudos and work closely with the US. So far it seems they will fume in private, be mealy-mouthed in public and squander another chance to seriously take the lead in regional and world affairs,” French said.
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