On Wednesday, the Financial Times published an op-ed titled "China should abandon North Korea" by Deng Yuwen, the deputy editor of Study Times, the journal of China's Central Party School. The remarkably strongly written piece calls for China to push for the reunification of the Korean peninsula -- i.e., regime change in North Korea.
The Central Party School is the most elite school for cadres; Xi Jinping served as president of the school until being appointed chairman of the Communist Party. Deng is relatively low in the party (and party school) hierarchy, but his op-ed is the latest in a series of indications that Beijing might be considering pulling the plug on North Korea.
Shen Dingli, the director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, published an article in these pages after North Korea's third nuclear test on Feb. 12 arguing that "China has reached a point where it needs to cut its losses and cut North Korea loose." Jin Qiangyi, director of the Center for North and South Korea Studies at Yanbian University in northeast China, told the New York Times that "[f]or the first time the Chinese government has felt the pressure of public opinion not to be too friendly with North Korea."
In his FT op-ed, Deng argues that Beijing should give up on its erstwhile ally because:
"The best way of giving up on Pyongyang," Deng writes, "is to take the initiative to facilitate North Korea's unification with South Korea," which, while still very unlikely, would open a whole new era in East Asia.
AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS
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