At this point in time, the North Koreans have refused to be goaded into escalating the conflict, despite the provocative artillery firing exercises by ROK army near the disputed border. Perhaps it is a sign that the North Koreans are becoming more sober, or in their calculations it is not worth escalating the conflict. The South Koreans on the other hand are set on revenge mode, after having lost ‘face’ in the aftermath of artillery barrage by the North Koreans on 23 November. The US and Japan as usual, are playing hawkish role in the crisis. Instead of calming down the South Koreans, the US carried out joint military exercise using aircraft carriers to intimidate the North Korean. Such exercises are just unhelpful in resolving the crisis, besides pissing of the Chinese as they are held rather close to Beijing and other major cities.
What is the motive of this seemingly reckless adventurism by US and the South Korean hardline leaders? I have little doubt that the main aim is to bring about regime change in North Korea, with reunification under South Korean leadership. Perhaps the hyenas have smelled the blood of Kim Jong Ill and think that the risk of full scale war is worth the prize. Perhaps Hillary Clinton and Lee Mying Buk are thinking about the Nobel Peace Prize that they will receive next year. It is a very ideological game being played, with very high stakes.
China is a key element here, and what will be better than if the Chinese would side with the South Korean and US in taking out the North Koreans. But the Chinese would not allow themselves to be manipulated by these dangerous ideas based on ideological zeal and personal vendetta.
From the Chinese perspective, to lead peaceful live is a most important and cherished idea. Peace is conducive to development of human rights, as without peace as precondition, our fundamental right to life and security cannot truly exist. One just need to look at the humanitarian disasters in present day Iraq, Afghanistan and other war torn countries as examples of societies that lack such basic human right . Why are the mainstream politicians and media of West showing little enthusiasm for peace in Korean peninsula? The so called respect for human rights that ooze freely from the mouths of politicians like Obama, Clinton, Rudd etc are just empty rhetoric, it seems.
So, for the sake of enabling our Korean brothers to live in peace and amity and for the sake of China’s own security interest, we have to say what’s on our mind to the DPRK and ROK brothers. Both countries should cherish peace and exert their utmost to avoid a possible national tragedy and take into consideration the external environment of peaceful construction in China and other neighbouring countries.
People from DPRK and ROK are kinsmen of the same race, and they belong to the same big Korean family, who are related closely to each other by flesh and blood. The Korean Peninsula was divided by a great power game after the surrender of Japanese intruders at the end of World War II in 1945. Therefore, people on the Peninsula desire the reunification of Korea, and it is just and legitimate.
Against this historical background, however, the evolution of this cause could not be pressed ahead with the use of force. This not only failed to alter the map of the Peninsula but brought calamity to our country unfortunately.
In June 1950, China was forced to send its “People Volunteers” to aid Korea and to protect the motherland, to pay a significant sacrifice. And the relevant security and development were also greatly affected by the war. On the occasion of the armistice, the “United Nations forces” and the DPRK held negotiations on the delineation of waters off the western inter-Korean border, but they disagreed without any result. Afterwards, the “UN Forces” unilaterally defined sea border — called the “Northern Limit Line” (NLL), a maritime border the DPRK has never recognized.
The ROK government was fully aware of serious differences on the NLL between the north and south, but it had gone ahead shelling the disputed waters in disregard of a strong opposition from DPRK, which was really surprising. Such a provocation is unable to force the other side to alter its position but only intensifies conflicts. In this regard, China is resolutely opposed to it. ROK should value the overall situation above everything else, exercise its restraint, and halt the extremely risky actions of this sort for the security of both sides.
DPRK fired scores of artillery shells to the ROK-held island of Yeonpyeong near their disputed maritime border off the west coast of the Peninsula on Nov. 23, with one ROK soldier killed and 13 others injured. This incident is really shocking. The Chinese side deeply deplores the loss of life in ROK. On its part, DPRK should also attach great importance to this situation, do exercise its restraint and halt high-risk moves against personnel of the other side, in view of security for both sides.
DPRK and ROK have had repeated armed conflicts in waters off the western inter-Korea border and, of late, their escalation upgraded particularly, and Chinese society has been extremely worried about it. We note that DPRK and ROK held their respective positions on the disputed issue, and we also note that the two countries have their respective concepts of sovereignty and justice, but we urgently appeal for both sides to value and pay heeds to the overall situation.
Then, what is the overall situation? It is meant that the people of DPRK and ROK are fellow countrymen, and both sides should grant their people most chances for peace. And what is justice, and it means to protect both the environment for peaceful construction from being wrecked. Moreover, a partial environment should be subject to the overall environment, and the minor justice should subordinate to the great justice.
Despite fragile peace between DPRK and ROK in the wake of signing the armistice of the Korean War, they scored their due socio-economic development and shunned serious clashes over the half past century. We endorse efforts made by the governments of both DPRK and ROK and their people to safeguard their respective sovereignty; we believe that the governments and people of both sides cherish peace; and we believe that the avoidance of conflicts is the code of action both sides have to abide by.
The Korean and Chinese people like the back of the hand palm are connected. For this reason, we advise Brothers: The war is not a game, and the cost of war is beyond all imaginations and beyond the affordation of any parties. Hence, the two countries should treat each other with sober-mindedness and in a spirit of brotherhood so as to resolve differences via consultations. China is ready to join other nations worldwide in doing its best for the fraternal unity and the eradication of disputes between DPRK and ROK.
As the latest development, South Korea launched on Monday a firing drill from a disputed western border island shelled by the DPRK last month despite the latter’s repeated warnings of a counter-attack.
DPRK said later Monday however that it did not “feel any need” to react against the ROK artillery drill off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, state media reported. Earlier, DPRK on Saturday accused the United States of goading ROK into provoking it, the official new Agency KCNA said.
In another development, DPRK has agreed to allow the return of UN inspectors following its discussions with visiting New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, according to CNN reports on Monday.
By People’s Daily Online and its author is Prof. Shen Dingli, Director of the Center for American Studies of the elite Fudan University in Shanghai