North Korea's provocative missile tests

The regime in North Korea has triggered a worldwide wave of indignation with its long-range missile test. What will the consequences be for international relations?

Open/close all quotes
The Irish Times (IE) /

China's hands-off policy hurts its own interests

Exerting pressure to stop Pyongyang's arms buildup is in Beijing's own interest, the centre-left daily The Irish Times observes:

“Beijing seems likely to do little beyond once again deploring Pyonyang’s actions. ... [Kim Jong-un] is playing with fire. Not least because the move has already prompted a significant new round of military co-operation talks between the US, Japan and South Korea, and a new commitment to build up of missile defence technology that could destabilise relations not only with Pyongyang but between the US and China. ... But critical to any effective response must be the beginnings in Beijing of a reappraisal of its hands-off policy which is now undermining its own strategic interests.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Missile test puts China in a dilemma

Kim Jong-un's provocations put China in a tough spot, the centre-left daily Der Standard comments:

“China can have no interest in sanctions that really endanger the government's stability. Because a collapse of the regime would destabilise the border region and extend the US's sphere of influence. What's more, criticising Pyongyang too harshly would only legitimise the US's plans to set up a missile defence shield in South Korea - something China rejects. And if Beijing breaks too much rhetorical porcelain any influence it still has over North Korea will disappear. Kim knows that too. For that reason it's entirely possible that he will continue with his nuclear provocations - until Beijing and Washington are ready to support the peace treaty that the North is after.”

Spiegel Online (DE) /

US must negotiate with Kim

The global community's indignation at North Korea's missile test is hypocritical, the news website Spiegel Online believes:

“Yet again none of the major powers has shown any serious interest in standing in Kim's way. Instead it suits everyone's purposes to brandish the image of Kim as a rogue leader. The US is using his threats to position its allies Japan and South Korea against China. Japan's Prime Minister Abe is using them to convince his countrymen to amend the 'peace constitution'. And in South Korea President Park's hardline party friends dream of making the South a nuclear power as well. ... The US must stop giving China all the responsibility for North Korea and demanding ineffective sanctions. Rather it should finally seek successful negotiations with North Korea - as it did with Iran. Otherwise it won't be long before Kim fires yet another salvo of missiles, this time perhaps unannounced.”

More opinions

The Guardian (GB) / 08 February 2016
  Pyongyang will spark arms race