Crisis on the Korean Peninsula: Views from China, Japan and Russia

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have flared up again since North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on November 23.  Here is a round-up of Chinese, Japanese and Russian views on this latest crisis:


The Global Times, the official English newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has been running daily editorials on the crisis:

Commentaries by scholars sounded a similar note:

  • Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, writes that since the end of the Cold War, the US has played up the North Korean threat as a means of convincing Japan that its security still depended on an alliance with the US.
  • Li Xiguang, professor at Tsinghua University, says “China should make it crystal clear that anyone who uses the Yeonpyeong incident as an excuse for further provocative actions is playing with fire.”
  • Piao Jianyi, professor of Korean affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview that the cause of current tensions was South Korea’s more hawkish political strategy towards the North. “There are no simple solutions to solve the tensions, and only urgent six-party consultations could ease the situation to a certain extent.”



  • Commentary by Andrei Volodin, head of the Centre for Oriental Studies of Russia’s Diplomatic Academy, highlighted the view that Russia and China had to be involved in any resolution of the North Korean situation. On who to blame for the tensions, he said, “News agencies reported that this incident was triggered by South Korea’s conduct. And therefore, I find all attempts to shift the responsibility for the tension on the Korean Peninsula to North Korea misguided.”
  • Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, provided this analysis of the region’s geopolitics: “China’s protection of North Korea lies in pragmatism rather than in any sense of ethnic sympathy or ideology. China stands to benefit more from maintaining the status quo than from having a united U.S.-influenced Korea as its neighbor. A Korea united without U.S. influence would also be an unwelcome prospect, because of the many issues it has to raise with its neighbors, in particular China and Japan. Tokyo, which fears the unpredictable northerners, hates the idea of a united Korea.The United States is now busy trying to resolve problems of its own. It is irritated by North Korea’s invulnerability, with its enrichment centrifuges and missile tests. That said, it can use the North Korean factor to strengthen its military presence in Asia Pacific.”

About risingpowers
Sigur Center for Asian Studies Elliott School of International Affairs The George Washington University

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