In order to put the North Korean nuclear genie back in its bottle, should China protect Pyongyang under its nuclear umbrella while forcing the regime to give up its nuclear program? For China’s state-run Global Times, columnist Zhu Zhangping offers some suggestions that may give Beijing a way out of its unquestioned backing of North Korea, and asserts that whatever benefit Beijing derives from keeping the Kim Jong-un regime in office, the danger of allowing him The Bomb is too great.
A top priority for China is to ensure the survival of the Kim regime and keep North Korea from collapsing. But should China continue to back North Korea no matter what it does? And even if North Korea’s nuclear development is targeted only at the United States, its nuclear programs bring huge risks to China – not the United States.
The third nuclear test in February was conducted just over 100 kilometers from China’s northeast border. Although Chinese authorities appeased the public by swearing that the mountains on the border would effectively prevent radiation spreading to China, the possibility that nuclear leakage could pollute underground water supplies cannot be ruled out.
Groundwater safety is not only a concern when it comes to Northeast China’s drinking water supply, but for food safety and even food security.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is the latest lesson. Fukushima Prefecture, where agriculture was a key industry, is highly contaminated and food production has been severely impacted. China cannot afford to risk a repetition of the Fukushima disaster in the Northeast.
What China should do now is offer North Korea protection under its nuclear umbrella, just as the U.S. does for Japan and South Korea, while forcing it to accept China’s advice and abandon its nuclear program. China faces bigger risks than any other country in the event of a fourth nuclear test.
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