A Chinese expert said Wednesday North Korea is not likely to heed China’s warning against conducting its fourth nuclear test, arguing that Beijing’s role in taming Pyongyang has been “overestimated”.
While China has grown increasingly frustrated with the North’s wayward behavior, many analysts believe Beijing would not take tougher actions, including suspending or restricting supplies of food and energy as it could lead to a regime collapse in North Korea.
Jin Qiangyi, director of Asia Studies Centre at Yanbian University, told China’s state-run Global Times newspaper that North Korea will respond with even more provocative ways if China takes a “tough stance”.
“Beijing’s role has been overestimated. As long as Pyongyang is determined to develop nuclear weapons, it will not be obedient to any other country including China,” Jin said.
“So far, North Korea has exploited the weak points of the Chinese government to continue to pursue its nuclear goals. It has been aware that China wants to maintain the stability of its threshold at the northeastern borders.
“If Beijing takes a tough stance toward Pyongyang, the latter will behave in a more provocative way,” he said.
Jin said North Korea will choose the timing of a test by taking its own interests into account.