Liberty Times: What comes after the Trump-Kim summit?

2018/06/18 15:26:22 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big

The June 12 Trump-Kim summit in Singapore achieved a remarkable agreement on the pursuit of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, but Trump's surprise announcement that the United States would henceforth stop joint military exercises with South Korea and further speculation that U.S. troops could be withdrawn from the South have cast a shadow over Northeast Asia.

If U.S. troops were to be withdraw from the Korean Peninsula, a rising China, which continues to build up its military strength to break through the First Island Chain, would be the biggest winner from the Trump-Kim summit.

The Korean War is a historical problem. North Korea has long been the biggest threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and despite numerous international warnings it has developed its own nuclear arsenal. The key point is that Pyongyang is propped up by China.

However, if the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South is a pre-condition for the North to deliver on its promise of denuclearnization, it would also provide an excellent opportunity for China to fill up the void created and expand its influence in Northeast Asia, posing a huge threat to the stability of the region's geopolitics and the security of South Korea and Japan.

If the U.S. surrenders its role as a deterrent to threats against South Korea and Japan, it will be unable to counter China's military expansion in the East China Sea, Taiwan Strait or South China Sea, which would make the entire region exclusively China's domain.

In contrast to North Korea, which is like a naughty boy in the international community, China is a behemoth, and with its fast growing economic and military strength, has the power to subvert the established international order.

A strategy to deal with the threat of North Korea that opens the door to China's expansionism is not wise. The China-threat theory is not based merely on anti-China ideology. It is a political reality that casts a pall over the international community.

After successfully developing its economy over the past 40 years, China is now resolved to become a major global power. Incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), having gained full political and military control of the country, has demonstrated an ambition to expand overseas.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. role as a pillar against international conflict and terrorism has been seriously undermined, with China posing the single biggest threat.

China can surely challenge the global status of the U.S., but to do so it must gain the trust of many countries and prove its expansion is peaceful.

The question then becomes does the rise of China represent an effort to improve the welfare of humanity or is it just an attempt to establish an evil regime? We believe the answer is clearly the latter. (Editorial abstract, June 18, 2018)

(By Flor Wang)

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