【英语中国】中国会对朝韩炮击事件作何反应?

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2010-11-25 02:37

小艾摘要: China's response to news of the North Korean firing of dozens of roundsof artillery at a South Korean island has been cautious so far, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying Tuesday that Beijing had ...
China's response to news of the North Korean firing of dozens of roundsof artillery at a South Korean island has been cautious so far, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying Tuesday that Beijing had 'noticed the reports' and was 'concerned about the issue.'

With smoke still rising over Yeonpyeong island, no one expects China or any other country to stray beyond the bounds of diplomatic prudence. But how China respondsâ 'or, even more fundamentally, how long it takes China to respondâ 'will be a central focus of global attention once the smoke finally clears.

The last time North Korean aggression led to South Korean bloodshedâ 'the sinking of a South Korean patrol ship, the Cheonan, in March, which an international investigation blamed on Pyongyang--China remained tongue-tied, failing to publicly express condolences for almost a month. That silence flustered, and ultimately frustrated, regional neighbors who look to China to keep North Korea from running too far off the rails.

North Korea's military misadventures put China in a difficult position. Besides being Pyongyang's only ally of consequence, Beijing has a vested interest in supporting the North Korean regime, the collapse of which could send millions of North Korean refugees flooding into China.

At the same time, China has increasingly pushed to be seen as the region's dominant peace keeper and power brokerâ 'a role that requires it to calm nerves made jittery by North Korea's occasional outbursts.

Those competing pressures are nowhere more apparent than in the currently stalled Six-Party Talks, originally initiated by China with the aim of dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The desire to lure countries back to those talks motivates most of China's diplomatic decision making in the region, says John Delury, assistant professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Studies.

'They've been pretty consistently pushing--in this very gentle Chinese way--to get everybody back to the table,' Mr. Delury tells China Real Time. 'They're implacable in that drive.'

China has yet to accept the results of an investigation by South Korean, U.S., U.K. and other experts that found the Cheonan had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo, although it did concedein July to a UN Security Council statement that condemned the attack (without directly blaming North Korea).

The difficulty for China in this case: Tuesday's exchange of fire took place above water, in full view of military satellites and TV cameras.

Absent Cheonan-level ambiguity, China would seem to face added pressure to say something substantive about the artillery attacks, and to say it reasonably soon.

'I would expect this goes quickly to the U.N. Security Council,' Mr. Delury says. 'So China doesn't have the time to use the usual delay and water-down techniques.'

That said, the Tuesday evening news broadcast of state-run flagship news channel CCTV-1--which led by citing official North Korean media as saying South Korea fired first--suggests leaders in Beijing may yet try to leverage uncertainty to justify reticence.

In the meantime, one reader discussing the attacks on the popular Voice of China bulletin board, wrote what we imagine at least a few of China's leaders are thinking: 'There's nothing good in this fight for China -- North Korea is insane.'

Associated Press延坪岛遭朝鲜炮击后冒出浓烟朝鲜向韩国岛屿发射数十发炮弹,目前中国对此消息的反应一直很谨慎。周二,外交部发言人说,中方已经“注意到这一报导”,并对目前的局势“表示关切”。

延坪岛(Yeonpyeong island)的硝烟都还没有散去,这个时候中国或任何其它国家肯定都不会偏离外交审慎的界限。但中国作何反应,或更重要的,中国需要多长时间才作出反应,将会是事情最终明朗后全球关注的焦点。

上一次朝鲜袭击韩国造成的流血事件发生在3月,一项国际调查将韩国天安号(Cheonan)巡逻舰沉没的原因归咎于朝鲜──在几乎整整一个月的时间里,中国一直默不作声,未公开表示哀悼。中国的沉默使其它寄望中国阻止朝鲜失控的邻国感到不安并最终恼火不已。

朝鲜军事上的失措之举将中国推向艰难的境地,中国是朝鲜唯一的重要盟友,同时为自身利益起见也支持朝鲜政权,朝鲜政权瓦解将会导致数百万朝鲜难民涌入中国。

与此同时,中国日益被推至亚洲重要和平维护者和权力制衡者的位置上,这个角色要求中国必须平息因朝鲜偶然爆发引起的紧张情绪。

这些彼此矛盾的压力在目前搁置的“六方会谈”中表现的尤为突出,六方会谈原本是中国提出的,旨在消除朝鲜核武器计划。首尔延世大学(Yonsei University)国际学研究生院助理教授德勒里(John Delury)说,中国在该地区的大部分外交决策的动机都是出于拉拢各国重启六方会谈的渴望。

德勒里对《中国即时报》记者说,他们以这种十分温和的中国式方式坚持促使大家回到谈判桌。对于推动这一点,中国具有十分强烈的愿望。

中国尚未接受由韩国、美国、英国和其它国家专家对天安舰沉没事件的调查结果,调查发现天安舰是由朝鲜鱼雷击沉的,但是中国在7月做出了让步,同意联合国安理会发表声明谴责此次袭击,该声明未直接对朝鲜提出指责。

而在此次的炮击事件中,中国面临的困难是:23日朝韩交火发生在水面上,军事卫星和电视镜头纪录了全部过程。

这次事件不像天安号事件那样难以明确,中国似乎将会面临更大压力,必须对这次炮袭说出些实质性的内容来,并且要尽可能快地说出来。

德勒里说,我预计联合国安理会将迅速插手此事,因此中国没有时间使用惯常的拖延和大事化小的手法。

虽然如此,23日晚官方主流媒体CCTV-1播出的晚间新闻中,一开始便援引朝鲜官方媒体的报导,称韩国先开的火,这表明中国领导人也许还在试图利用该事件的不确定性为沉默找借口。

与此同时,在人气颇旺的中国之声论坛上对朝韩交火的讨论中,一位读者写道,我们认为,至少有一部分中国领导人会这样想:这场交火对中国一点好处也没有,朝鲜疯了。

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