Lee Seong-hyon, koreatimes.co.kr
China has always argued that ‘peace' is important," Yun Sun, a senior associate with the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., told The Korea Times. "By that, they mean a peace treaty between the U.S. and North Korea. They identify that the lack of a peace treaty is the fundamental reason North Korea wants to develop nuclear weapons.
"So, the timing of China's proposal for a peace treaty may sound abrupt, but the Chinese position itself is not. Running back to the peace treaty is China's pattern in handling the Korean nuclear crisis."
The Chinese proposal echoed a longstanding demand by North Korea. Minister Wang characterized it as a "reasonable concern of North Korea." Lu Chao, an expert on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences in northeast China, echoed the view. "The North Korean demand is reasonable, because after the armistice, there has not been a peace treaty. The armistice is only temporary. If we want North Korea's denuclearization, we should also factor their concerns into consideration."
Jingdong Yuan, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, thinks China is turning the tables with the proposal.
"China has long been criticized for not doing enough on North Korea or scolded to apply more pressure, or cut off oil and stop providing economic aid to North Korea," he said. "China now thinks that if the U.S. folds its arms and sticks to the usual ‘strategic-patience' approach, nothing will really move forward. So, China is saying to the U.S., ‘why don't you also consider this proposal?'"
China's foreign diplomacy on North Korea has been characterized as passive and reactive. China also wants to correct it, by grabbing the initiative for the North Korean nuclear crisis and thus leading the international public diplomacy narrative that has been under Washington's purview. ...