Much is at stake in the nuclear dispute with North Korea. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Beijing on Sunday (17 September) to mobilise support for putting greater pressure on the regime in Pyongyang.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel travelled to China on Sunday (17 September), where he held talks in the capital Beijing with State Councillor Yang Jiechi. The crisis over North Korea’s illegal nuclear arms programme was the main item on the agenda. As recently as last Friday (15 September), North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean. “Once again, the regime in Pyongyang is demonstrating that it poses a serious threat to world peace,” Gabriel said.
Threat to the international community
Foreign Minister Gabriel is in no doubt that much is at stake in the conflict. If North Korea succeeds in its nuclear weapons programme, many other countries will also acquire nuclear arms. “A world that has many small countries with nuclear weapons would be far more dangerous than the East-West confrontation of the past,” Gabriel said. In his view, only one conclusion can be drawn from the latest developments. “This situation can only be prevented if the US works with Russia and China,” he said.
A two-track strategy comprised of pressure and dialogue
China plays an important role in the conflict with North Korea. As almost the only country that has trade relations with North Korea, China has a crucial influence on the isolated regime in Pyongyang. During his visit to Beijing, Gabriel thus called for greater international pressure to be exerted on North Korea to halt its illegal conduct. Gabriel discussed the crisis in detail with State Councillor Yang Jiechi on Sunday. “It is clear that a two-track strategy comprised of pressure and dialogue is needed towards North Korea,” Gabriel said. The sanctions agreed with the United Nations must be applied fully and systematically. However, he added, it was also vital to launch a political process with North Korea.
Strengthening exchange with China through culture
Foreign Minister Gabriel also set the course for the future during his visit. More dialogue is needed between German and Chinese societies in order to facilitate greater global cooperation with China. To this end, Gabriel launched a series of German art events in Beijing, Deutschland 8, a major exhibition showcasing a huge range of German art in the Chinese capital, with works by over 50 established and young German artists, including Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorf, Hilla and Bernd Becher and Neo Rauch, on show at eight locations.