China’s Hard Choice: Between the Korean Bombs and United States

Professor Fei-Ling Wang
24 November 2015

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has pursued a foreign policy objective of resisting and reducing the United States’ influence in its neighborhood. A manifestation of this has been China’s policy towards North Korea. Beijing’s failure in stopping Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition has epitomized an irony that, with its ever rising power, China’s national security environment and freedom of action in East Asia are stagnant, if not deteriorating. Left alone, the North Korean Bomb undercuts China’s power and prestige everyday and undermines the Chinese leadership in the region and beyond. More uncertainties and chain-reactions caused by the North Korean Bomb are likely to further compromise Chinese national interest. To apply its leverage to force a denuclearization of the DPRK, China risks losing its only treaty ally and ideological comrade thus to strengthen the hands of the United States. The hard choice Beijing faces in dealing with the nuclear North Korea, therefore, illustrates the nature of the PRC foreign policy.

About The Speaker: Professor Fei-Ling Wang , Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania), is a professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology. He has taught at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) and held visiting and adjunct positions in China, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wang is the author of six books (two co-edited) and has published over 70 book chapters and articles in journals and newspapers such as The China Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, Harvard International Review, International Herald Tribune, Journal of Contemporary China, The New York Times, Pacific Affairs and The Washington Quarterly. He has appeared in news media such as Al Jazeera, AP, BBC, CNBC, Businessweek, CNN, Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, UPI, and The Wall Street Journal. Wang has had numerous research grants including Minerva Chair Grant, Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant and Hitachi Fellowship