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China 'can't save' N. Korea even if it collapses: ex-general

All Headlines 17:05 December 02, 2014

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- China would not help save North Korea even if the neighboring North's regime collapses, a former general of China's military said Tuesday, in rare explicit comments that possibly reflect Beijing's growing frustration with its unpredictable ally.

"China is not a savior," Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing military region of the People's Liberation Army, wrote in an op-ed published by the Global Times newspaper, which has close ties with China's ruling Communist Party.

"If North Korea really collapses, even China can't save it," Wang said.

The comments by Wang were in response to a recent contribution by another Chinese expert, who urged Beijing not to "abandon" North Korea.

North Korea is China's only formal treaty ally, but a series of provocations by the North, including last year's third nuclear test, have strained political ties between the two nations.

The alliance between North Korea and China, forged by blood during the 1950-53 Korean War, appears to be wearing thin.

Still, many analysts believe that Beijing will not put strong pressure on Pyongyang due to the risk of aggravating the current situation.

In the Chinese-language op-ed piece posted on the newspaper's website, Wang indicated that China may not step in if a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula.

"China has no need to get burned," Wang said. "Whoever provokes a war bears responsibility. It is not necessary for China's young generation to fight for another country."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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