Double play: ‘US pits China against other states, seeks its support on N. Korea’

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to an opening statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, China January 27, 2016. © Jacquelyn Martin
US is seeking China’s support over DPRK nuclear testing, but at the same time it sows discord in Asia trying to pit China against other countries, says Victor Gao, Director of the China National Association of International Studies.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed Wednesday on the need for a new UN resolution condemning North Korea after its Jan. 6 nuclear test, though there were few signs of concrete progress, Reuters reports. Kerry is currently on a two-day visit to Beijing.

RT: There are quite a few issues keeping the US and China at loggerheads. Do you expect them to overshadow the countries’ co-operation on North Korea?

Victor Gao: As far as the nuclear weapon testing by DPRK [is concerned] China will do the right thing - that is to strengthen the international cooperation and put pressure on DPRK and try to bring it back to the six-party talks. And this is not only in the interest of DPRK as well as the Republic of Korea but also it is conducive to peace and stability beyond the Korean peninsula. However, between China and the US there are indeed problems. And Secretary of State John Kerry on the one hand is here in Beijing right now seeking Chinese government support to cooperate with the US as far as DPRK nuclear testing is concerned. At the same time during his very recent visit to Laos and Cambodia, as well as his recent remarks and behavior of the US and its Secretary of State, they are actually sowing discord in this part of the world trying to pit China against other countries and try to pick sides in the territorial disputes between China and the Philippines and China and Vietnam. From the Chinese perspective this is completely unacceptable. Definitely, this will create a big overhead in China’s effort to work with other related parties to stop the DPRK from conducting more nuclear weapon testing.

READ MORE: N. Korea to US: Stop drills, sign peace treaty if you want end to nuclear tests

RT: Do you think the US will bring any concessions with them behind closed doors during their meetings with the Chinese?

VG: No, I don’t think so. I think China is standing firm on these matters of principle, on these islands and atolls in the South China Sea, Chinese territories that we have historical records going back centuries ago. For whatever China is doing including the land reclamation…is completely within Chinese sovereign right... I think the more pressure the US wants to put on China, the more re-bounce there will be from China. Definitely it is not in a positive manner by the Chinese government or by the Chinese people. They tend to interpret what the US is really up to as interference into Chinese domestic affairs...

RT: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos said “For 70 years, peace and stability have been kept in Asia, because of the American military. We aim to keep that going.” What does China think about that?

VG: I don’t think Defense Secretary Carter said the right thing. The whole world knows the US was very much involved in the Vietnam War in the 1960s... So the US didn’t play a very positive role in promoting peace and stability. Secretary Carter seems to forget about the Vietnam War legacy as far as the US is concerned. He probably should go back to the history department to refresh his memory about what the US was doing in this part of the world, especially East Asia and South-east Asia. Indeed for the last several decades peace and stability have prevailed, especially if we compare this part of the world with the Middle East or Central Asia where the US have done a great deal of job which resulted in greater instability or even chaos. In this part of the world we don’t want a repetition of such disorder brought by US activity…I hope people and governments will have enough rationality to make sure the reason, peace and diplomacy negotiations will prevail.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.