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China's objectives for Korea include denuclearization, keeping U.S. from border: State Dept.

All News 05:36 November 04, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- China's objectives for the Korean Peninsula include stability and denuclearization, but also keeping U.S. troops away from its border, the U.S. Department of State said Wednesday.

In an annual report to Congress on China, the department also indicated that China regularly holds military exercises to that end.

"The PRC's objectives for the Korean Peninsula include stability, denuclearization, and the absence of U.S. forces near China's border," said the report, referring to China by its official name, the People's Republic of China.

"The PRC's focus on maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula involves preventing North Korea's collapse and military conflict on the Peninsula," it added.

The U.S. maintains some 28,500 troops in South Korea under the Mutual Defense Treaty with Seoul, effective since 1954.

The report said China may get directly involved in a conflict on the Korean Peninsula should there be one, partly to preserve what it called a "North Korean buffer."

"The PLA conducts military exercises in preparation for a contingency on the Korean Peninsula including air, land, sea, and chemical defense training events. China's leaders could order the Northern Theater Command to engage in a range of operations in the event of a crisis," it said. PLA stands for the People's Liberation Army.

"These could include securing the China-North Korea border to control the flow of refugees, or a military intervention into North Korea to secure weapons of mass destruction or preserve a North Korean buffer state."

The report also noted that China continues to advocate for U.S.-North Korea dialogue, but that it insists the U.S. should provide incentives to the North for the denuclearization steps Pyongyang has taken so far.

"Beijing has urged Washington to acknowledge Pyongyang's "legitimate concerns" and argues that Pyongyang has taken denuclearization measures that merit a commensurate U.S. response, such as sanctions relief," said the report.

North Korea has boycotted denuclearization negotiations since 2019. It also remains unresponsive to recent U.S. overtures for dialogue, urging Washington to first abandon what it claims to be its hostile policy toward the North.

The report said China fails to fully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

"Additionally, Beijing did not regularly act against illicit ship-to-ship transfers in the PRC's territorial seas and China-based North Korean banking and weapons trade representatives and their activities."

bdk@yna.co.kr
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