Defying any actions to be adopted by the U.N. Security Council over a landmark resolution condemning North Korea's grave human rights record, Pyongyang is likely to raise the stakes by following through on its threats to conduct a fourth nuclear test, a Chinese expert warned Tuesday.
The U.N. resolution, co-sponsored by the European Union and Japan, is based on a groundbreaking U.N. Commission of Inquiry report earlier this year that graphically documented human rights abuses in North Korea.
A key part of the resolution calls for North Korea's leaders to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for punishment for crimes against humanity, although the resolution does not mention the North's young leader Kim Jong-un by name. The resolution is expected to be submitted to the Security Council this month.
North Korea has vehemently denounced the resolution, calling it a U.S.-led plot to topple its communist regime and openly threatened to conduct a new nuclear test.
"The U.N. resolution now threatens to heighten the already high tensions on the Peninsula," Ba Dianjun, professor of Northeast Asian Studies at Jilin University, wrote in an op-ed published by the state-run China Daily newspaper.
"Worse, the rising tensions could destabilize Northeast Asia because the DPRK (North Korea) has vowed to respond to the U.S.-Japan-ROK (South Korea) human rights plot, saying the 'toughest' response could be another nuclear test," Ba said.
"This, in turn, could put East Asia on the brink of a regional war," the professor said, urging the U.S. to stop "using the ICC to politicize Pyongyang's human rights record."
North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006, the last and most powerful of which was in February 2013.
The resolution will be non-binding unless it is endorsed by the Security Council, where China and Russia, both friendly to North Korea, have veto power. China has already openly voiced its objection to the resolution. (Yonhap)