China is 'best' country to convince North Korea to denuclearize: analyst


Posted at Aug 15 2017 11:34 PM

MANILA — China is the "best" country to convince North Korea to denuclearize amid rising tensions in the region due to the latter's continued nuclear tests and ballistic-missile launches, an analyst said on Tuesday.

Herman Kraft, a professor at University of the Philippines' Department of Political Science, said that, although China does not have absolute influence over Pyongyang, its "extraordinary relations" in terms of both trade and politics are enough to influence North Korea.

"I think it’s the country (China) in the best position to convince North Korea that what it is doing is not helping reduce tensions in the region," he said in an interview on ANC's "Beyond Politics."

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, previously said that talks with North Korea are the "correct" way to deal with its nuclear ambitions.

China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Beijing is Pyongyang's closest ally, but the former is angry with the latter's continued nuclear and missile tests.

The two countries joined member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) earlier this month for a security forum addressing North Korea's missile tests.

Kraft said the ASEAN could have taken a stronger stance against Pyongyang's nuclear threats than the statement it released during the ASEAN Regional Forum, but he noted the difficulty in achieving a consensus among all bloc members.

"It could have [issued a stronger statement], but the nature of the statement could have been something that everyone would have had to agree upon and I think that’s part of the difficulties that ASEAN actually has on this issues," he said.

"North Korea has friends within ASEAN so, in that sense, a stronger statement might have been something that they might not have been actually willing to go with... It’s a question of what kind of language is acceptable with everyone," he added.

Top diplomats from the ASEAN called upon North Korea to contribute to realize the ASEAN Regional Forum's vision of "lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity" as it expressed "grave concern" over its nuclearization. — With a report from Reuters