China remains ambivalent towards North Korea-Russia military deal: Report

BEIJING: As Russia and North Korea have negotiated and executed a series of deals related to arms since September, it is likely that China is ambivalent towards this military deal between North Korea and Russia, as there are both pros and cons for Beijing, The Diplomat reported.
The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took security relations between the two nations to the next level.According to many experts, China could benefit from the arms deal and its inaction would kill two birds with one stone. China has avoided providing military equipment to Russia. However, it does not want Russia to lose the war. China can avoid further hostility from the European nations if North Korea provided artillery ammunition to Russia.
China does not want to take on greater responsibility for avoiding the comprehensive sanctions against North Korea, particularly for violating UN Security Council resolutions on the arms trade. Instead, Russia will take the responsibility for supplying sanctioned technology to North Korea while China will enjoy influence over the US and its allies, Wooyeal Paik wrote in The Diplomat report.
However, China might not like the strengthening of military ties between Russia and North Korea as Beijing wants to monopolise its influence over North Korea’s political, economic, and military fate, and does not want to share this with Russia or anyone else.
Furthermore, North Korea wants to diversify its international patronage and support beyond China, which would help Pyongyang have more leverage over Beijing. Meanwhile, China does not want to take on the leadership of a China-Russia-North Korea trilateral security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, according to The Diplomat report.
Although China would value the security capabilities of North Korea and the US against the United States more highly than ever in the 2020s, however, China has certainly been reluctant to embrace such a grouping, according to The Diplomat report.
China is aware of its benefits and drawbacks, with latter probably weighing more heavily. China might not want to be considered the leader of an authoritarian club, along with North Korea and Russia. China is already making efforts to avoid being framed as Russia’s top military ally in the Euro-Atlantic region.
China will lose any hope of strengthening its ties with most of the developed nations of Asia and Europe if the grouping becomes apparent and official. China needs the Global North to advance economically, technologically, and diplomatically. China needs more from the Western middle powers. Although China wants to sway, however, joining a bloc along with Russia and North Korea would end all hope on this line for Beijing, The Diplomat reported.
In this regard, a militarily advanced North Korea is a double-edged sword for Beijing. China does not wish to see security convergence between the Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions. China has made it very clear that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) should not become involved in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula. However, the Russia-North Korea arms deal will accelerate regional security convergence.
North Korea is providing conventional weapons to Russia, which will be immediately used against Ukraine. The development will undermine NATO’s ability to defend against Russia and it will feel more need to engage in the Indo-Pacific to constrain North Korea, Russia, and China. The North Korea-Russia convergence could trigger a series of critical chain reactions in the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific and China, like many other nations is not sure about its consequences.


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