[U.S.-China Nuclear Competition Special Report] ⑦ Several Strategic Issues Concerning the Korean Peninsula
Special Reports | 2023-09-08
Senior Research Fellow, Grandview Institution
Ouyang Wei, the Vice-Director of Academic Committee at the Grandview Institution, highlights that despite the strategic balance on the Korean Peninsula being fragile, there are still space for stakeholder countries to seek cooperation in order to avoid escalation. Ouyang suggests potential areas of multilateral cooperation toward peace on the Peninsula include nuclear safety, security, humanitarian issues, and environmental concerns related to nuclear weapons. The author further urges China, U.S., South Korea, and Japan to mutually reaffirm their willingness to protect denuclearization, peace, and stability on the Korean Peninsula and begin engaging in multilateral dialogues.
Whether in the global context or within the Asia-Pacific region, particularly on the Korean Peninsula, security issues are extremely prominent, and the level of risk is on the rise. Keeping in mind the destiny and common interests of humanity, it is imperative that, for the sake of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the future of the world, relevant countries concentrate on surmounting obstacles and striving for cooperation in the face of strategic challenges.
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula encompasses security concerns, crises arising from the competition among major powers, and crises resulting from conflicting interests among pertinent nations. In terms of the crisis’s nature, it encompasses both traditional security issues and non-traditional security challenges. Regarding the intensity of these crises, they can vary from high to low intensity. Additionally, their impact can range from regional to international. In terms of the interplay between crises, they can influence each other under specific conditions, occasionally triggering a chain reaction of causation and effect.
From a crisis management perspective, the process is notably characterized by its inherent complexity and extended duration.
I. The denuclearization, security, and stability of the Korean Peninsula are of significant strategic importance to China.
Advancing the denuclearization, peace, and stability of the Korean Peninsula is integral to China’s vital strategic interests. Both the DPRK and the ROK are neighboring nations to China, and the trajectory of their development, as well as the course of events on the Peninsula, will exert a significant impact on China’s strategic concerns.
From both a geopolitical and security standpoint, the Korean Peninsula holds strategic significance for China. China shares a border with the Korean Peninsula, and the denuclearization, establishment of peace, and maintenance of stability in the region significantly affect China’s surrounding security landscape. Should a strategic imbalance and instability arise on the Korean Peninsula, it could potentially escalate into military conflict, potentially even evolving into a nuclear war, thereby presenting a substantial challenge to China’s national security.
When considering the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the possession of nuclear weapons by the DPRK undermines the international non-proliferation regime, creates an imbalance of nuclear forces on the Peninsula, and poses a direct threat to regional security and stability.
The nuclear and missile development as well as testing activities conducted by the DPRK have triggered significant concerns within the international community, giving rise to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges for the countries involved. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key participant in matters pertaining to the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear concerns, China has consistently adhered to a policy of advocating for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while upholding peace and stability within the region. Simultaneously, China lends support to the resolution of nuclear-related issues through dialogue and consultation, with the aim of safeguarding peace and stability in the region.
In terms of the economy and trade, the economic development and societal openness of the Korean Peninsula hold significant importance for China’s economy. China stands as the largest trading partner for both the ROK and DPRK and serves as a source of aid for North Korea. China’s economic and trade ties with South Korea have steadily expanded over the past decades, while relations in the economic and trade sphere with North Korea have also maintained relative stability. For China, there lies a vested interest in further cultivating economic and trade relations with South Korea. Simultaneously, if North Korea were to embark on economic and social reforms, opening up in the future could potentially foster enhanced economic cooperation with China.
From the vantage point of regional equilibrium and diplomacy, the prevailing trends on the Korean Peninsula and the forthcoming political framework wield significant influence over the strategic balance and stability within Northeast Asia, as well as China’s vested interests. Nurturing amicable and cooperative relations with both the ROK and the DPRK can contribute to upholding regional peace and stability while safeguarding China’s strategic concerns. Through proactive engagement in the cooperation and resolution of Korean Peninsula-related matters, China seeks to uphold regional security and stability, facilitate the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula, and safeguard its own interests.
Hence, China’s stance regarding the denuclearization, peace, and stability of the Korean Peninsula remains unwavering and steadfast. However, there might be certain periodic adjustments and modifications in certain aspects, prompted by changes in the circumstances.
Regarding dialogue and cooperation, China advocates the resolution of security and stability issues on the Korean Peninsula through meaningful dialogue and consultation, thereby advancing the denuclearization process. Nonetheless, due to shifts in the North Korean nuclear matter and the evolving strategic landscape over recent years, the positions of relevant parties have undergone alterations. In light of this, China has adopted a measured and cautious approach in its dialogue and cooperation with the DPRK. This stance aims to balance the interests of all parties involved and mitigate potential risks.
In relation to enforcing economic sanctions, China has consistently upheld the implementation of UN resolutions, which entail curtailing trade and financial interactions with North Korea. Such measures are instrumental in fostering progress in the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula. Concurrently, during the course of enforcing these sanctions, China has exercised prudence and adaptation, including adjusting the extent of implementation in response to changing circumstances. This approach is designed to prevent an undue negative impact on the economic well-being of the North Korean population.
In the new strategic context, China is obliged to maintain coordination and equilibrium with other stakeholders concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the overall regional peace and stability. As the denuclearization process advances, China must factor in the concerns, stances, and interests of other relevant nations, thereby contributing to the enhancement of regional stability. This approach ensures China’s diplomatic influence on the Korean Peninsula while upholding its role as a responsible nation.
In essence, China’s proactive pursuit of denuclearization, peace, and stability on the Korean Peninsula remains steadfast. Nevertheless, there could be adjustments and balances in certain approaches, aimed at accommodating the interests of all parties concerned and mitigating potential risks. China supports the advancement of Korean Peninsula denuclearization through dialogue, cooperation, and necessary sanctions, thereby upholding regional peace and stability and fulfilling its pertinent diplomatic responsibilities. In its endeavor to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, China has predominantly implemented the following measures:
First, promote dialogue and reconciliation. China is committed to promoting the process of dialogue and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, advocating the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation, and calling on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid escalation of tensions. China has taken an active part in the Six-Party Talks and engaged in contact and consultation with the DPRK and other relevant countries to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Second, supporting economic development and assistance. China is the main trading partner and aid donor of the ROK and the DPRK. While strengthening economic and trade relations with the ROK, China has provided necessary economic assistance and development support to the DPRK. China has been calling on North Korea to improve social conditions and people’s livelihood through economic development and try to provide opportunities of development for North Korea and reduce its dependence of nuclear weapons.
Third, maintain border stability. China shares land border with North Korea and need a peaceful neighbor. In view of the deployment of DPRK nuclear facilities close to the China-DPRK border area, China has maintained stability and controllability in the China-DPRK border area by strengthening border security and management. In recent years, China has strengthened border vigilance and taken a series of measures to limit illegal cross the border and strengthen anti-smuggling efforts to curb the negative impact of illegal activities.
Fourth, continue to advance the denuclearization process. China firmly supports the DPRK in achieving the goal of denuclearization, participates in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, and fulfills its obligations. China has taken various measures to shape peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, including promoting dialogue and reconciliation, providing necessary economic assistance, maintaining border stability, and promoting the denuclearization process of the DPRK, with the aim of achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and prosperity and development in the region.
Fifth, China has conducted extensive cooperation with the international community on nuclear safety and security. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China supports and implements relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. As a member of the Security Council, China also has taken on the task of enforcing sanctions, including restrictions on North Korea’s trade and financial activities. China works with other countries and international organizations to share information and take action to censor and restrict trade and financial dealings with North Korea. China has participated in dialogue and consultation on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and maintained communication with the DPRK, ROK, the United States, Russia, Japan, and other relevant parties to promote the dialogue process.
In order to promote the denuclearization of the peninsula, China has put forward the “suspension for suspension” initiative (that is, the DPRK stops its nuclear and missile activities and the US and the ROK stop their military exercises) and proposed a “dual track” solution (that is, denuclearization and security mechanism construction are carried out at the same time). At the same time, China also provides food, energy, and other basic materials to the DPRK by providing humanitarian assistance, so as to ease the living difficulties of the DPRK people and strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the DPRK in education, culture and tourism, so as to promote mutual trust and understanding between the two peoples.
Sixth, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has a direct and important impact on China’s security interests. Therefore, China has always regarded the realization of denuclearization, security, and stability on the Korean Peninsula as an important strategic goal. North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons, on the one hand, may lead to the deterioration of regional nuclear proliferation and security situation; On the other hand, it gives the reason to strengthens the military alliance between South Korea and the United States, strengthens the military relations between South Korea and Japan, and integrates the military forces of the United States and South Korea. The extended deterrence strategy of the United States against the DPRK makes it possible for the Korean Peninsula to be in a state of nuclear confrontation and does not rule out the risk of nuclear conflict.
All these factors will directly affect China’s security interests and increase the uncertainty of the security situation in Northeast Asia. To this end, China will undoubtedly attach great importance to the Korean Peninsula issue and play an active role in political, diplomatic, economic, and military fields to safeguard regional security, stability, and its own interests.
The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula was formed by a specific history, which is complex and sensitive and difficult to resolve. In the foreseeable future, the Korean nuclear issue and the security and stability of the Peninsula will remain the one of priorities of China’s foreign policy. China needs to decide how much policy resources to allocate to facilitate a solution to the problem, carefully considering the risks and interests of all parties.
At the same time, China also needs to maintain coordination with other major countries, strengthen international cooperation, promote the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula, maintain regional security and stability, and protect its own interests. Based on China’s foreign policy and national conditions, China’s diplomatic direction on the Korean Peninsula can be broadly divided into the following aspects:
First, China needs to maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. China will continue to play its positive role as an important regional power and encourage relevant parties to ease tensions, reduce the risk of conflict and avoid escalation through dialogue and cooperation.
Second, promote regional cooperation and development. China will continue to promote regional cooperation and development between China and the relevant countries. Economic exchanges and trade cooperation between China and other related countries will continue to be strengthened to support the prosperity and development of the Korean Peninsula. China may also provide technical assistance and economic support to the DPRK through cooperation with other countries to improve the people’s livelihood and promote the economic and social development of the DPRK.
Third, promote the improvement of DPRK-US relations. China will continue to make efforts to support dialogue and improvement of DPRK-US relations. As an important participant in the Korean Peninsula issue, China hopes to push relevant parties to resume dialogue, lift tensions and resolve the issue through negotiation and consultation. China will continue to propose that the United States cooperate with other relevant countries to promote dialogue and negotiation with the DPRK and improve DPRK-US relations.
Fourth, promote the improvement of inter-Korean relations. China will also strive to promote dialogue and improvement of inter-Korean relations. By actively mediating and promoting inter-Korean dialogue, China can help promote mutual trust and reduce tensions between the parties on the Korean Peninsula.
Fifth, China supports the independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. This is China’s consistent policy position. China believes that the reunification of the Korean Peninsula should be achieved through peace, dialogue, and negotiation, avoiding the use of force and conflict. China maintains that the reunification of the Korean Peninsula should be the independent choice of all parties on the Peninsula, respect the history and reality of the Peninsula, and fully consider the balance of interests of all relevant parties and the will of the people on the Peninsula. China supports the efforts of the North and the South to promote mutual understanding and build trust through peaceful dialogue and multilateral dialogue mechanisms, so as to reach a consensus on peaceful reunification. In this regard, China will play a mediating role and promote dialogue, push forward the peace process, and provide support and assistance for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. China has participated in the discussions and resolutions of the UN Security Council on the Korean Peninsula issue, participated in other international and regional mechanisms, and played a positive role in realizing the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
II. The impact of China-Us strategic competition on the denuclearization of the Peninsula
At present, the development of China-Us relations is at a low point, and defense and security dialogue, exchanges and cooperation are basically at a standstill. The United States has intensified political, economic and security pressure on China and the confrontation between the two countries in many aspects is on the rise, which has a negative impact on the Korean nuclear issue and regional peace and stability.
At the same time, North Korea takes advantage of great power competition, influences the policies of great powers by expanding nuclear weapons and launching missiles, and deepens the gaps between great powers in order to gain benefits from great power competition.
The upgrading of the alliance between the United States and the ROK and the adjustment of the security relations between the ROK and Japan have led to the integration of the military forces of the United States, Japan and ROK in the peninsula and Northeast Asia, which has increased the strategic pressure on the DPRK, increased the tension on the peninsula, and also increased the difficulty of strategic mutual trust between China and the United States.
In response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile escalation, the United States has concretized its extended deterrence on the peninsula. After the “Washington Declaration”, the United States and South Korea established a consultation mechanism, the United States’ nuclear weapons will be re-deployed on the peninsula, forming a direct nuclear confrontation with the DPRK, increasing the possibility of a nuclear war on the peninsula.
China-U.S. strategic competition may have the following major impacts on the nuclear issues and security and stability of the Korean Peninsula:
First is to hinder dialogue and cooperation between the two countries to deal with the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Differences and suspicions between the two countries on the nuclear, security and stability issues on the Korean Peninsula have intensified, making it difficult for the two sides to reach consensus on the denuclearization process and affecting their respective efforts to resolve the nuclear problem.
Second, China and the United States have different attitude in their positions and efforts on economic sanctions against the DPRK. While the United States favors tougher sanctions against North Korea, China is more focused on reducing the military threat and the impact on people’s livelihoods. The strategic competition between China and the United States may lead to greater differences in sanctions between the two countries, which will affect the effectiveness of the denuclearization process and influence over North Korea.
Third, gaining more influence on the Korean Peninsula may become part of the strategic competition between China and the United States. Both sides want to play key geopolitical roles in the region and influence the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula. So the North Korean nuclear issue is likely to become a focus of such competition. This competition could lead to a tougher stance on both sides, which could affect cooperation on North Korea’s denuclearization process and regional stability.
It should be noted that if the strategic competition between China and the United States in the political, economic and security fields is not effectively controlled, it will have an adverse impact on the denuclearization process of the Peninsula and regional security and stability.
If China and the United States lack communication, coordination and strategic mutual trust in dealing with the nuclear crisis, there may be misunderstanding and misjudgment in the crisis, leading to military confrontation and even conflict. In addition, if China and the United States are in a state of serious confrontation on the Taiwan issues, once a major incident involving China’s core interests occurs in the Taiwan Strait, China and the United States may be in a state of serious confrontation on the Korean Peninsula issue. Therefore, both countries need to strengthen communication and cooperation to jointly promote the denuclearization process of the DPRK and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
III. Striving for cooperation in the face of strategic difficulties
Although the nuclear issue and security and stability of the Korean Peninsula have been challenged, the development of China-U.S. relations is at a low point, the denuclearization process of the Peninsula has faced great uncertainties, and the security situation is in a state of tension, but the basic position of relevant countries on the denuclearization of the Peninsula has not changed substantially.
The overall strategic balance on the Korean Peninsula, though fragile, still exists, and the possibility of sudden changes and major conflicts in the foreseeable future is relatively small, and the basis for relevant parties to seeking cooperation still exists.
At the initiative of the United States, a trilateral ministerial dialogue mechanism was established in 2010 to coordinate policies toward the DPRK. The tripartite sys-tem is characterized by a U.S.-led security partnership that has not yet raised to the level of a tripartite alliance. It is conceivable that there should be a China-specific part of the trilateral security cooperation framework, but mainly for a possible crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
The recent improvement in South Korea-Japan relations is mainly due to the mutual interests of the two countries in security relations, political relations and economic development, and the increased security pressure on South Korea and Japan due to the tense situation on the peninsula.
At the same time, the adjustment of Korea-Japan relations on the one hand will help the United States coordinate the security policies and joint actions of the two allies, and on the other hand, from the perspective of maintaining the overall order in Northeast Asia, the normalization between South Korea and Japan and the end of the “trade war” may also help reduce the tension in Northeast Asia. If such adjustment can promote the construction of the Northeast Asian Free Trade Area, it will help China, Japan and the ROK to establish balanced economic and trade relations and contribute to the prosperity and stability of Northeast Asia.
Although relevant countries have undergone some changes in their strategies due to internal and external factors and have conflicting interests leading to potential conflicts, but their overall interests in the nuclear issue, security and stability of the Peninsula and the region remain the same. Therefore, in the future, it is unlikely that relevant countries will abandon denuclearization and stability of the peninsula and pursue the bloc confrontation, resulting in a Cold War pattern. It is groundless to believe that Northeast Asia will form two opposing blocs: one is the United States, Japan, and South Korea, the other is China, Russia and the DPRK.
Against the backdrop of a complex international environment, countries can still seek room for cooperation on the Korean Peninsula issue. Competition between great powers and related countries in many areas does not mean confrontation in all areas. As long as there is no sharp confrontation on core interests, there is room for cooperation in other areas.
On the Korean Peninsula, China, the United States, the ROK and Japan should have the same general understanding on safeguarding nuclear security and safety, avoiding conflicts and nuclear war on the Peninsula. If there is a military conflict, a nuclear disaster or even a nuclear war on the Peninsula, the interests of all parties will suffer heavy losses, and the regional and international security framework will be overturned.
Even in the state of strategic competition between China and the United States, it is still possible for China and the United States or China and the ROK to engage in dialogue and cooperation in some areas related to the peninsula. Such as nuclear safety and related environmental safety; Humanitarian assistance (food shortages, disaster refugees); Nuclear safety on the Peninsula (nuclear accidents, nuclear pollution caused by nuclear leakage, geological disasters caused by nuclear tests), nuclear safety and security. No matter which country, it is necessary to make practical efforts to reduce tensions on the Peninsula. It should be noted that although bilateral dialogue between the U.S. and the DPRK is important, it cannot truly solve the issue of denuclearization, security, and stability on the Peninsula, because the Peninsula issues involves the interests of all parties. In terms of denuclearization, security and stability on the Peninsula, countries may consider cooperating in the following areas:
First, consolidate the willingness of relevant countries to cooperate on the denuclearization, peace, and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Proceeding from the common interests of mankind and for the sake of regional peace and stability and the future of the world, China, the United States, ROK and Japan should focus on overcoming obstacles and strive for cooperation in strategic difficulties. Countries should proceed from the overall situation, seek common ground while shelving differences, avoid confrontation and actively seek areas for cooperation.
Relevant countries can consider promoting bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, or six-party dialogue exchanges, including the DPRK, to increase the willingness to cooperate and reduce the possibility of conflict. On the issue of safeguarding nuclear safety on the Korean Peninsula, avoiding nuclear war, and preventing armed conflict, China, the United States, Japan and the ROK should maintain the same overall understanding.
Relevant countries should take effective measures to prevent military conflict, nuclear disaster, or even nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, safeguard the major security interests of all parties, and establish an effective regional security framework.
Second, committed to building stable, predictable, and constructive China-U.S. relations. China and the United States should play the role of major countries in accordance with common interests and work together to manage the peninsula affairs. On the peninsula issue, China and the United States do not have a hostile relationship like that between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. On the Taiwan issue, China and the United States can also find a balance point in handling mutual relations according to the principles of the three Joint Communiqués. The two countries should maintain strategic flexibility while upholding their core interests. The two countries should focus on establishing effective bilateral and multilateral coordination mechanisms and conduct strategic dialogue on dealing with the nuclear issue on the Peninsula and other potential emergencies.
Effective measures should be taken through consultation and coordination to prevent a head-on collision between the two countries. China and the United States should strive to gradually enhance mutual trust in the process of dealing with regional security issues and contribute to the future strategic stability of Northeast Asia. China and the United States have been cooperating on the Korean nuclear issue, especially in ensuring nuclear safety on the Korean Peninsula, tapping potential, and making efforts in the following areas:
1. Establish and maintain dialogue channels between the two countries. China and the United States should establish and maintain stable dialogue channels, including high-level meetings, communication between the military leadership, regular working-level contacts, and exchanges between think tanks. These dialogue channels provide a platform for the two sides to exchange views on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, find similarities and differences, and seeking negotiated solution. Through these channels, China and the United States can also strengthen strategic communication in response to potential crises, take coordinated actions on crisis response measures, and prevent misunderstanding and misjudgments.
2. Coordinate economic sanctions and humanitarian assistance. China and the United States play an important role both in the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and humanitarian assistance.
On the one hand, both countries need to implement relevant UN resolutions. On the other hand, the two countries also have a common responsibility in humanitarian assistance to the DPRK to prevent a humanitarian crisis on the peninsula. China and the United States can strengthen cooperation on economic sanctions and humanitarian assistance, so that these two efforts can play an effective role in promoting the denuclearization of the peninsula.
3. Cooperate in maintaining security and stability on the Peninsula. Both China and the United States bear important responsibilities for the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula. United States is the main ally of South Korea and Japan, has advanced military capabilities and a relatively complete intelligence sys-tem. China is an important neighbor of the DPRK and bears important responsibility for the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula. A possible crisis on the Korean Peninsula will also directly affect China’s national interests. In the field of security, China and the United States can strengthen cooperation to jointly safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, especially to jointly safeguard the nuclear non-proliferation regime and prevent nuclear disasters and nuclear wars.
4. Promote the establishment of multilateral security cooperation mechanisms. Both China and the United States have participated in a number of multilateral cooperation mechanisms related to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, such as the “Six-Party Talks” and UN sanctions resolutions. In these mechanisms, China and the U.S. can strengthen coordination and cooperation to prevent the formation of two confrontational blocs and a “new Cold War” on the Korean Peninsula. By jointly promoting the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula and cooperating with other relevant countries, China and the United States can form greater synergy and lay the foundation for the future settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
5. Cooperate on nuclear security and safety issues on the Korean Peninsula. China and the United States can cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally in such areas as reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles, strengthening nuclear material protection, and international monitoring and verification of fissile materials. Over the past few decades, China and the United States have conducted extensive exchanges and cooperation in such areas as nuclear energy safety, nuclear material safety, nuclear waste disposal and nuclear counter-terrorism.
China and the United States have signed a number of agreements on nuclear security cooperation, including the “China-U.S. Nuclear Security Cooperation Agreement”. These agreements provide a framework and mechanism for bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. China and the United States have also cooperated closely on the safety of nuclear facilities. For example, the two countries have exchanged experience in the design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants and shared safety management and technical standards with each other. In addition, the two countries have cooperated on nuclear material safeguards and worked together to prevent the illicit acquisition and misuse of nuclear materials. In addition, China and the United States have strengthened cooperation on nuclear waste treatment and radioactive waste management. The two sides exchanged views and cooperated on nuclear waste treatment technologies and radioactive waste management policies to jointly seek safer and more sustainable solutions.
In addition, the exchange and dialogue mechanism between China and the United States in the field of nuclear safety has also been strengthened to a certain extent. The nuclear regulatory agencies and scientific research institutions of the two countries have conducted frequent visits and exchanges, carried out special seminars and training activities, and jointly improved the level of nuclear energy safety management.
Although the two countries have cooperated in the field of nuclear safety, there are also some challenges and differences. For example, there are some differences between China and the United States in the scale and technical route of nuclear energy development, which may affect the cooperation between the two sides in nuclear safety. Issues such as nuclear proliferation and prevention of nuclear terrorism also require concerted and sustained efforts by China, the United States and other countries.
Both China and the United States are permanent members of the UN Security Council with nuclear weapons, of which the United States has the largest number and types of nuclear weapons. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is the only country in the world that adheres to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and no use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and regions. In the future, China and the United States may conduct consultations and negotiations on nuclear disarmament and arms control, exchange and discuss the issue of nuclear weapons stockpiles.
In ensuring the safety of nuclear materials and facilities on the Korean Peninsula, China and the United States can play the role of major countries, strengthen communication and cooperation, share relevant information, improve response capabilities to nuclear crises, and maintain the reliability of nuclear safety and security on the Korean Peninsula. China and the United States can also work together to promote an international monitoring and verification mechanism for fissile materials in cooperation with other relevant countries within a multilateral security framework.
Third, promote the establishment of effective multilateral dialogue mechanisms. Security issues on the Korean Peninsula and in the region are at a critical stage and are being challenged by various factors. Relevant countries should conduct multilateral consultations on regional destabilizing factors, restart multilateral dialogue and find effective ways to achieve security. All countries should seek new ways of cooperation and play an active role. Relevant countries should oppose the artificial division of camps and find common ground and compromise points in areas where there are differences. The United States, Japan and the ROK should reduce their dependence on military alliances, and relevant countries should step out of the shadow of the “Cold War mentality” and prevent camp confrontation on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. All parties should always adhere to the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, establish an effective crisis management mechanism through major-country coordination and multilateral security cooperation, and maintain regional peace and stability. ■
■ Ouyang Wei is a Senior Research Fellow, Vice-Director of Academic Committee, and Director of the Center for Chinese Borderland Securities at the Grandview Institution.
■ Copyedited by Jisoo Park, Research Associate
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