Beijing, China— North Korea’s latest nuclear test is likely to pile more pressure on China to take tough action against its neighbor, but Beijing already doubts economic sanctions will work and says it is not its sole responsibility to rein in Pyongyang.
China has lambasted the West and its allies over recent weeks for promoting the “China responsibility theory” for North Korea, and been upset by Seoul and Washington’s own military drills that Beijing says have done nothing to cool tensions.
“The United States has to play its own role and should not be blindly putting pressure on China to try and squeeze North Korea,” said Ruan Zongze, a former Chinese diplomat now with the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated with the Foreign Ministry.
While the seriousness of Sunday’s nuclear test means China will likely support tough new action, including possibly cutting off oil supplies, China will make clear others need to step up too, Ruan added.
Over the past week, China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly hit back at calls from Western countries and Japan for China for to do more to rein in North Korea, saying that pushing for dialogue was an equally integral part of the UN resolutions, and that escalating sanctions alone had been evidently ineffective.