If China falls out with North Korea, then Russia will step in

27 04 2017

Pyongyang-MoscowKirsty Needham (Sydney Morning Herlad, Beijing, 24 APRIL 2017)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his US counterpart Donald Trump that Beijing opposes any action on the Korean Peninsula that goes against UN Security Council resolutions.

The phone call between the two leaders came as Chinese media reported on a rift between Beijing and Pyongyang, with North Korean state media criticising China as “dancing to the tune of the US”…

The US has repeatedly urged China to use its economic clout to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, warning that if China cannot produce a solution, the US may act alone.

Mr Xi told Mr Trump the international situation was changing rapidly and it was important the US and China maintain close contact, Chinese state media reported.

“Xi Jinping stressed that China is firmly against any behaviours that violate the UN Security Council’s resolution, at the same time it hopes all parties concerned maintain restraint, avoid doing anything intensifying the peninsula situation,” CCTV reported.

Asked about the North Korean media attack, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “China’s position is consistent and clear and the relevant party should be very clear about that.”

Chinese experts are saying cutting oil would be the toughest sanction China could impose – it was last done in 2003 for just three days.

North Korea’s mining industry would be severely hit if China cut energy supply to the regime.

The front page of North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday praised the DPRK’s mining industry as self-reliant, exceeding capacity and “smashing the enemies’ sanctions”.

Kim Jong-un sent congratulations to a magnesite mine – a mineral that is exempt from UN sanctions. North Korea has the world’s second largest deposits of magnesite, a raw material listed as “critical” by the US and the European Union and a key component in smartphones and aircraft. China has the world’s largest deposits.

Leonid Petrov, an ANU fellow, says China is buying other rare earth minerals that are vital for high-technology products at half price from North Korea. He says if relations between Pyongyang and Beijing continue to deteriorate, Pyongyang could cut off sales to China and find new export markets elsewhere.

“If China falls out with North Korea, then Russia will step in. North Korea allows China and Russia to compete for concessions and ports and fishing,” he said.

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Chinese Pressure To Halt North Korean Nuclear Test Increases

7 02 2013

Tsar_Bomba(6 February 2013, NKnews.ORG) With North Korea threatening to go beyond a third nuclear test in response to what it sees as “hostile” sanctions imposed after the December rocket launch, Chinese pressure to halt a North Korean nuclear test appears to be mounting at considerable pace.

Building on high level talks held yesterday between Washington and Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters today that Beijing is “extremely concerned by the way things are going…We oppose any behavior which may exacerbate the situation and [urge] relevant sides to exercise restraint and earnestly work hard to maintain peace.”

Chunying’s comments came following an agreement  yesterday that the U.S. and China would “work together” to deal with the pending nuclear test, made public after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s Foreign Minister talked by phone for the first time since Kerry took office.

On the subject of the call, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that both China and the U.S. agreed that North Korea should face “further consequences” if it violates UN Security Council resolutions with another test. Nuland also emphasized that the conversation between the two were “remarkably similar” to ones Kerry had in previous days with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

Beyond publicized Sino-American rhetoric, a senior Seoul diplomat told Yonhap News that he was aware that China was making its “own efforts” to persuade North Korea to cancel the test, although he did not elaborate on what those efforts were. The diplomat also said that China was taking the nuclear test “seriously.”

Outside of the diplomatic realm, an editorial in the English language Global Times today detailed Chinese displeasure even further, warning that Pyongyang would pay a “heavy price” for a third nuclear test and that China should “shatter any illusions Pyongyang may have” about not being punished.

While the editorial did note that Beijing would unlikely support the type of heavy sanctions that the U.S. and South Korea will likely demand in the event of a test, it underscored that China should support “reduced assistance” to North Korea and said that, “if Pyongyang gets tough with China, China should strike back hard.”

But despite all of the increasing rhetoric, North Korea expert Leonid Petrov today NK NEWS that in reality China is probably not that concerned about a further nuclear test.

Beijing policymakers know better than anyone how to benefit from Pyongyang’s insecurity and increasing international isolation. More sanctions against the DPRK means better deals for Chinese entrepreneurs operating in North Korea and increased dependency of Kim Jong-Un’s regime on China’s security assurance. A nuclear armed and unmanageable Pyongyang poses no threat to China but keeps its regional competitors anxiously overspending on their own national defense and security.

However, Chinese experts quoted yesterday in the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao have different thoughts. Shen Dingli, Executive Deputy Dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Fudan University, said that the planned nuclear test and rocket launch had already harmed China’s core interests, and that Pyongyang should be prepared to “bear the consequences” and “prepare itself for tougher international sanctions.”

In the same report Fan Jishe, a researcher on U.S. studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went further and criticized Pyongyang for “embarrassing China” and “impeding [the progress of] Sino-U.S. relations.” He also criticized North Korea for implicitly blaming China for its “blind obedience” to Washington in the recent United Nations condemnation of the December rocket launch.

Amid the increasing pressure, Yonhap News suggests that the North Korean media’s decision to avoid citing Chinese media or report on Chinese news in recent weeks shows a growing spat between two countries once regarded as being as close as “lips and teeth”.  A screening of KCNA, Rodong Sinmun, KCTV, Radio Pyongyang and Chosun Central TV showed that following the passage of the Chinese supported UN Security Council Resolution on Jan. 23, there had been almost no mention of China in the North Korean media.

Tensions between China and North Korea have been on the increase recently, with public disagreements bubbling over in areas even outside of the nuclear realm. Less than two weeks ago Pyongyang reportedly hit out at Beijing for allowing reports to circulate that Kim Jong Un may have had plastic surgery to look like his grandfather Kim Il Sung.

Some suggest that China is the most important party in efforts both to dissuade North Korea from conducting a nuclear test, though others suggest Beijing’s influence is much more limited than leaders in the U.S. and South Korea like to think.

China has been traditionally uncooperative in pushing North Korea too hard, officially due to worries over fanning political and further economic instability in its neighbor.

To date, Pyongyang has conducted two nuclear tests, the first in 2006 and the second in 2009. Both times China ensured that sanctions on North Korea avoided inflicting too much economic damage.





«Не влезай – убъёт!» – Северная Корея шлёт миру очередной сигнал

9 06 2009

Две американские журналистки, Ына Ли и Лора Лин, которые были арестованы северокорейскими пограничниками 17 марта 2009 г. на китайско-северокорейской границе, предстали перед Центральным Судом КНДР. За «незаконный переход грарницы и шпионаж» двух молодых женщин приговорили к 12 годам лишения свободы и исправительных работ. Процесс проходил в закрытом режиме, решение обжалованию не подлежит. Чем вызван такой приговор и что власти КНДР хотели нам всем этим сказать?

За последний год власти КНДР проявляют в своих действиях удивительную последовательность. В своём стремлении вернуть страну к полной самоизоляции, на подобии той, которая существовала с 1960-х по начало 2000-х, Пхеньян готов пойти на любые шаги, в том числе самые жесткие. Жесткие по отношению к своему народу в первую очередь, да и инострацам и тоже. Если в 2005 г. страна впревые продемонстрировала чудеса открытости и либерализма, открыв свои границы для туристов из США (пусть на короткие 2 месяца в период фестиваля Ариран) и разрешив в 2007 г. южнокорейским туристам пересекать Демилитаризованную Зону на собственных автомобилях, то начиная с прошлого года начался обратный процесс. Зоны межкорейского сотрудничества стали закрываться, неблагонадёжным туристам стали нещадно отказывать в визе, а тех кто любыми путями стремился попасть в страну, стали арестовывать или убивать.  

11 июля 2008 г. северокорейский солдат застрелил пятидесятитрёхлетнюю южнокорейскую домохозяйку Пак Ван Чжа, которая якобы попыталась в 4 часа утра пронкнуть в «охраняемую зону», прилегающую к совместно-эксплуатируемому курорту Кымгансан на восточном побережье Кореи. Южная Корея немедленно приостановила въезд своих туристов в злополучный анклав до выяснения обстоятельств. Северная Корея от совместного выяснения обстоятельств откзалась, равно как и от извинений за произошедший инцидент. С тех пор курорт Кымгансан простаивает без туристов, а большая часть обслуживающего персонала (граждане Южной Кореи и Китая) высланы на родину…

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China’s N.Korea Influence on Wane

6 04 2009

The Australian (April 06, 2009)

kimyongiihu-jin-taoBEIJING: North Korea’s rocket launch showed China did not have as much influence on Kim Jong-il’s regime as some believed, despite being its main economic and political ally, analysts said. Leading up to the launch, China came under widespread pressure to use its influence on its communist neighbour not to go ahead.

North Korea had said it was launching a communications satellite, but the US, South Korea and Japan were concerned it was actually a long-range missile and said North Korea breached a UN Security Council resolution.

China undoubtedly has more influence with North Korea than anyone else, as evidenced by Mr Kim’s visit to Beijing last month and other high-level contacts between the two countries. But John Feffer of the US-based Institute for Policy Studies said the secretive regime in Pyongyang did not in any way feel beholden to the leadership in Beijing. “The historical ties and ideological similarities no longer exert any influence,” Mr Feffer said. “North Korea is dubious of ‘older brother’ pressure” and “does not want a subservient relationship”.

Leonid Petrov, an associate researcher at the Australian National University, said China would have made its views about the rocket launch known to the regime in Pyongyang. “But (China) does it very cautiously out of fear of losing its remaining leverage on North Korea,” he said.  China wanted to keep its influence for a time when it was really needed to protect its interests.

The UN Security Council was due to meet overnight to discuss the launch, but experts said China, a permanent member of the council, was likely to veto any move for sanctions on its ally.

Mr Petrov said proof of China’s weak hand with North Korea came when Pyongyang conducted its first and only atomic test in October 2006. A Chinese envoy was the first foreign official to meet Mr Kim in Pyongyang soon after the test, which lifted North Korea’s nuclear programs to the top of the global political agenda. North Korea defied Chinese calls not to go ahead with the test and Pyongyang informed Beijing of the test only 20 minutes in advance, Mr Petrov said.

Analysts say one way China can exert some influence on the impoverished nation is through the delivery of food and energy. North Korea’s economy, ravaged by poor economic planning and international sanctions, is largely kept afloat by China. Last year, Beijing increased its exports to North Korea by 46 per cent to more than $US2billion ($2.79 billion), according to Chinese figures, accounting for a large proportion of the nation’s food and energy supplies. These deliveries have in the past been used by China to put pressure on Pyongyang.

“China has applied pressure in the past to get North Korea to come to the negotiating table and take more flexible positions,” Mr Feffer said. China is reluctant to use this leverage too dramatically because it dreads triggering an influx of refugees across its 1400km-long porous border with North Korea. “I am not sure if China has any significant level of influence over North Korea,” said Jing-dong Yuan, director of the East Asia non-proliferation program at the US-based Monterey Institute of International Studies.

AFP