China's leadership is moving toward accepting North Korea's nuclear weapons and the U.S. should follow suit, the Sunday Times quoted a Chinese expert as saying.
The weekly quoted Tong Zhao, a researcher at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, as saying that Beijing and Washington have "fundamentally different interpretations of the threat and intent behind North Korea's weapons program. That means they have a very different strategy to handle it."
Tong added the Chinese leadership believes developments have "passed the point where military force can stop the North Korea acquiring nuclear capability... And there is a belief in Beijing that the U.S. will have to accept that reality, too."
The paper said of course Beijing "is not happy about a nuclear North Korea... [but] it is, for now, more fearful of risking the collapse of the North if China severed all economic ties." This would result in "millions of North Korean refugees flooding across its border" and the "specter of American troops and military hardware stationed at China's border."
It added China does not believe the North would "endanger that status" as a nuclear state "by inviting international retaliation for sharing nuclear know-how."
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