BURTON: When will China drop Pyongyang and act like a leader?

Charles Burton, an associate professor of Political Science at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in the Globe and Mail about China’s potential to emerge as the champion of an international effort that fixes the North Korea problem once and for all.

China’s master strategists are making sure the latest United Nations sanctions cannot extinguish the menace that North Korea poses to world peace. This week, Beijing (again) manipulated the UN into diluting sanctions so that they won’t impede North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons capable of striking targets as far away as Europe and North America.

The problem with the deter and contain strategy represented by sanctions is that it won’t deter or contain anything. The minute North Korea demonstrates its ability to hit Los Angeles or Chicago with a nuclear bomb, the dynamic between Pyongyang and the rest of the world changes sharply. 

In the meantime, China also knows that imposing truly harsh sanctions on North Korea could simply backfire. If Beijing were to cut off oil and food supports to its isolationist neighbour, North Korea’s likely response would be to lash out militarily at China, putting Beijing into an extremely awkward dilemma.

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