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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:16am

Chinese expert on North Korean affairs warns of 70pc chance of war

Leading Chinese expert on North Korea sounds warning as tensions rise and tours are cancelled

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 April, 2013, 4:35pm


  • Yes: 84%
  • No: 16%
10 Apr 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 605

One of China's top experts on North Korean affairs warned yesterday of a better than 70 per cent chance of war on the Korean Peninsula as tensions continued to rise and South Korean and US forces raised their alert status.

The remarks by Zhang Liangui, a professor of international strategic research at the Communist Party's Central Party School, came as mainland travel agencies cancelled tours to North Korea.

"There is a 70 to 80 per cent chance that a war will happen because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may want to use this opportunity to force a reunification of the Korean Peninsula," Zhang said.

There is a 70 to 80 per cent chance that a war will happen because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may want to use this opportunity to force a reunification of the Korean Peninsula
Zhang Liangui, professor of international strategic research

Pyongyang has stepped up threats to attack South Korea and the United States in recent weeks, with Seoul saying that Pyongyang could launch a missile test "at any time from now". North Korea will observe several anniversaries in the next few days, including the birthday of the country's founder Kim Il-sung on Monday, which could provide a pretext for more military displays.

Zhang said that even if a conflict is avoided there was an urgent need for the countries involved to avoid similar chaos in the future and negotiate a removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

"The longer we delay fixing it, the more difficult the situation will become," he said. "China needs to seriously consider how to tackle the problem."

Relations with Pyongyang remain a controversial issue in China, as some in the party believe Beijing's continued support of its long-time ally can offset US influence in the region. Others argue that helping to de-escalate the situation by taking a tougher line could increase Beijing's international clout.

Deng Yuwen , a deputy editor at the Study Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Central Party School, was suspended over a February Financial Times article he wrote calling for China to abandon North Korea and press for reunification of the peninsula.

Beijing has not said what it has done to implement UN sanctions, but customs said yesterday that China's first-quarter exports to North Korea were down 13.8 per cent to US$720 million.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the China-North Korea border was being policed, but added that tour groups had stopped travel on their own.

Travel agencies in the border city of Dandong said they received a notice from local travel authorities yesterday to suspend tours to North Korea.

"The tours will only be resumed once conditions are stable," one local travel agent said.

A staff member of another travel agency said they had cancelled tours because "many people have expressed worries about their safety".


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This article is now closed to comments

I think the real experts on North Korea should be found in South Korea and I don't think they would give a 70% probability of war. This doesn't even merit front headlines. Please go check the place out and other sources out first before quoting something and drumming out fear and misunderstanding. None of the foreign embassies have evacuated their personnel. Seems the further out you get from the Korean peninsula the more fear there is. Yes, there is more tension than usual but the fat,little kid up north has little to gain and everything to lose if he strikes the South. Call it the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Ant Lee
70% chance of war because this is an opportunity to force unification? SCMP would waste front line space for this BS? Anyone has any common sense would know this would be suicidal for N. Korea to do so. I know the quality of SCMP articles (with more and more senseless pro-Bejing contents) have been deteriorating for many years but can't believe it would demean itself to this extend. Why doesn't SCMP report on Leon Lai's "golden statements" on its cover page?

What's the difference between a 60% chance of war and a 70% chance of war?
What will an 80% chanced of war look like?
The writer of this article is confused.
Scaremongering in the extreme.
Even if there is no war, The west will not miss a chance to expand the missile shield. All of this is not in the best interest of China. All of the military hardware in area will never leave, only get better and can be used to contain China. Its time to throw North Korea under the bus. If LiL KIM was not there and not making atomic threats, The United States would have no reason to put more hardware there.. If China invaded North Korea, there could be a buffer zone between south Korea and China. It could be the largest DMZ in the world. China is not making reckless threats against the world and would be a "responsible neighbor" to South Korea. This cant go on forever.
nice comments if you'd like to see North Korea placated. all the countries involved want to keep the status quo. there will be no war, believe the reality, there will be no war. and if there is, it will be the end of North Korea. I for one will miss their clownery. it will be a sad day for the world.
The biggest threat of China is USA. China should do all it could to maintain the status quo.
hard times !
it is learnt that both America (the No.1 military power in the world since 1945) and South Korea (a prosperous and democratic country where its people enjoy freedom and nice lives the N.Koreans can just imagine) have a plan to capture Pengyang, capital of N.Korea once the latter launched its middle-range missiles at their targets (the American bases in Guam,Okinawa, Japan or Hawaii or even S.Korea).The project is code-named: Project 5027 and they also predicted once the PRC is invloved in the war, the time to capture Pengyang will just take 2 weeks instead of a few days only. Just wait and see this nuthead, crazy Fat Kim (the third generation of the Kim Dynasty) will end up---either killed in a ferocious war or be captured or flee to Mainland China where he has several secret bank accounts there.
"There is a 70 to 80 per cent chance that a war will happen because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may want to use this opportunity to force a reunification of the Korean Peninsula".
If Kim Jong-Un forces a reunification of the Korean Peninsula it will be reunification by the South. It is not in China's interest or current ideology to sponsor a North Korean "takeover" of the South. Any invasion would quickly turn into the N. Korean soldiers surrendering and defecting to get a better life.
A pragmatic peace accord after N. Korea's incursion might be to have N. Korea to become a Special Administrative Region of China on a "one country, two systems (China/S. Korea)" principle so that S. Korea doesn't have to shoulder the entire financial burden of reunification.
In the long run, it's probably in everyone's interest to encourage Kim Jong-un to invade and to get this silly mess resolved once and for all.
Clear and Present Danger: a rogue society that is long due to be eradicated and leaders tried for war criminals against humanity. Having nuclear capability in the hands of (demented) terrorists is a ticking time bomb ready to go off sooner or later. They can't reach the US so S Korea and Japan are the two to repeat as being victims of the story of Hiroshima, the difference is the bomb is dropped not to stop a war but to start one. HK will suffer from radioactive fallout and we will start getting cancer and babies born with extra limbs.
If Afghanistan and Iraq deserve to be liberated (Politically correct term), N Korea should have the next honor. Before US fall into a deeper recession lets hope they would throw in a few surgical strikes to end their nuclear plants, military bungalows and those war mongering Generals that are puppeteering that fat kid to do the unthinkable.


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