More US troops in Asia if China unable to contain North Korea: report

Source: Want China Times

More American troops will be deployed to the Asia-Pacific region if China remains unable or unwilling to rein in the actions of North Korea, according to an article published in the New York Times.

Beijing has been criticized by the international community over the past week after failing to pressure new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un into abandoning a controversial rocket launch on Dec. 12.

“Analysts said that China’s overriding fear was of a collapse of the hard-line Communist government in Pyongyang, which could lead to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula under a government in Seoul allied with the United States,” wrote Jane Perlez, the chief Beijing correspondent for the Times. “China, they said, would consider an American presence on its doorstep untenable,” she added.

Perlez believes Beijing’s support of Kim may lead to the United States, together with its regional allies Japan and South Korea, launching a new containment policy against China.

“Obama administration officials were clearly exasperated this week with China’s inability to rein in Mr Kim,” Perlez said, adding that the US government is considering a stronger military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

While the Chinese government continues to back up Kim’s leadership in Pyongyang, scholars in China are debating whether Beijing should revise its stance on North Korea.

“It stirs up regional security,” said professor Zhu Feng from Peking University, adding that the missile launch “facilitates China-bashers to work on hardline policies to contain China, or just balance China.”

Other Chinese scholars pointed out that China is unlikely to support a new resolution to impose sanctions against North Korea.

“China will not support a resolution; it will favor a president’s statement,” said Cai Jian of Fudan University in Shanghai. “A president’s statement at the United Nations is considered a much weaker form of condemnation than sanctions.”

Jonathan D Pollack from the Washington-based Brookings Institution said the reason the Chinese government will not support sanctions against North Korea is because it fears Pyongyang might be provoked into launching a nuclear test.

Image credit:Defense.gov: Kunsan Air Base, South Korea

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