North Korea may well have taken advantage of the split between China and the US in its repeated provocations.
A new approach to North Korea must begin with the recognition that the US’ and China’s current security policies toward each other, and toward the “Hermit Kingdom,” have failed.
As US President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy team takes shape, the US must redefine the “pivot to Asia” strategy and improve relations with China.
Without a strong and cooperative relationship with China, the US’ Asia policy will not succeed. As the leadership transfer is complete in Beijing, China’s new foreign and security policy makers must take a fresh look at the North Korea conundrum and be more creative in finding a viable solution.
Sanctions alone seldom work in international politics. It may be too late to stop North Korea from becoming a nuclear state, but the US and China can, and should, work together to manage the North Korea challenge to promote lasting stability in East Asia and to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.
Zhiqun Zhu is a professor of political science and international relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.