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Dealing with North Korean Provocations: A Chinese Perspective
Author: Cheng Xiaohe
Region: Asia
Location: China
Published February 29, 2016
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For a variety of reasons, North Korea at times behaves in a provocative fashion. This chapter starts with a discussion of the concept of provocation and its nature. A careful exploration of North Korea’s provocations is conducted in an effort to identify the domestic and external causes. With a diagnosis of the pattern of provocations, the chapter suggests ways to cure the symptoms as well to eliminate the root causes. It concludes: 1) to cope with North Korean provocations is a collective endeavor rather than China’s lonely adventure; 2) military intervention is not China’s policy choice, but in order to deal with the hazard caused by North Korea’s unreliable nuclear technology, China should prepare to use force; 3) since persuasion plus material incentives alone fail to find receptive ears in Pyongyang, China’s pressure is necessary; 4) as change within North Korea could fundamentally temper its external behavior, resuming the stalled Six-Party Talks may be the only viable way to root out important external factors that cause North Korea to take bold, costly provocations.

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