Skip to comments.China may pay dearly for its support for a nuclear North Korea
Posted on 10/10/2006 12:26:10 AM PDT by familyop
China may have the most influence of any nation over Pyongyang, but North Korea's nuclear test illustrates the failure of Beijing's diplomatic approach, analysts say.
China has been North Korea's main ally for more than half a century, a relationship cemented in blood when Chinese troops fought alongside North Koreans against US and South Korean soldiers in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
But critics charge that China's ideological ties to the bankrupt communist state have blinded it to the danger posed by Pyongyang's atomic weapons ambitions.
"No country should be more embarrassed and more concerned than China," said Ralph Cossa of the Pacific Forum CSIS, a think tank in Hawaii.
Some analysts charge that North Korea would never have defied the international community to such an extent unless it was fairly confident that Beijing would protect it from the worst consequences.
Along with South Korea, China has argued against the hard-line response championed by Washington and Tokyo to North Korean brinkmanship during the three-year nuclear standoff.
China's efforts to curtail North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been in direct opposition to hardliners in the White House who are seeking regime change in Pyongyang.
Instead of sanctions or other tough measures, China has pushed for diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea not to become a nuclear power.
Since 2003, China been the host of six-nation talks -- involving the two Koreas, China, the US, Japan and Russia -- that were aimed at reining in Pyongyang's nuclear program.
North Korea pulled out of the talks in November last year and China's pleas to Pyongyang to return to the diplomatic table have been ignored.
China is now presented with its biggest diplomatic challenge in years in deciding what to do about the nuclear test, said Shi Yinhong (石印紅), an international relations expert at People's University in Beijing.
"It is under great pressure to line up with the US and take harsh sanctions against North Korea, while knowing that such a step could realize its worst nightmare -- the collapse of North Korea," Shi said.
Beijing has staked the legitimacy of its position on North Korea on promoting stability and economic progress in that country.
China is also worried about the potential flood of millions of North Korean refugees from over the border into its territory if Kim Jong-il's regime imploded.
With so much at stake for China, it is unlikely -- according to some analysts -- that China would back the US and Japan and fully support the kind of crippling sanctions that would bring about regime change in Pyongyang.
As well as being its chief political ally, China is the main provider of food and energy to the impoverished North.
"Even though China, I'm sure, is very upset and angry with what North Korea is doing, I'm still not sure China is really ready to cut off food and oil supplies and everything else to North Korea," said Brian Bridges, a political science professor at Hong Kong's Lingnan University.
A stern response from the UN Security Council would have to include tough sanctions if it were to send the correct message to North Korea and other countries that might be tempted to follow the Stalinist state's example, according to Cossa.
"We have been arguing for years, particularly in the last few years, that we really need to get together and provide a unified international response to North Korea," Cossa said.
"South Korea and China have seen things differently and there has never been a message sent to North Korea from the rest of the world speaking with a single voice," he said.
He said that the risk now was if North Korea got away with it, other countries or governments would be tempted to follow suit, a situation that could very quickly backfire on China.
"If you look around the world and see which country other than North Korea considers itself threatened by a nuclear-armed super power, one country comes to mind immediately -- Taiwan."
China may need to make a statement on this but it won't be out of her own embarrassment, it will be to attempt to salvage the reputation of those international organs who really are acutely embarrassed, the EU and most particularly the UN. That group is extremely useful to Chinese foreign policy and it constitutes their most effective check on U.S. policy at the moment. If the UN cannot solve, or at least seem to be making headway, with the North Korean problem then the Chinese stand to lose the UN as a tool, and given their aspirations toward Taiwan that would be exceedingly inconvenient.
It will all be for show, but they'll respond. They have to.
I don't think that is true.
Japan for one is willing to step up to the plate.
A nationwide boycott of Chinese-made goods by a majority of Americans would fix things. But that's dreaming....
Or an embargo. But that is also dreaming.
Im sure Japan will have a high tech arsenal within 4 years. Kim shot that missile toward Japan a few years ago.
Since then I bet they have all the blue prints and are now putting plans into gear. North Koreans hate Japanese, and Japanese know it. They have no choice.
"///China may need to make a statement on this but it won't be out of her own embarrassment, it will be to attempt to salvage the reputation of those international organs who really are acutely embarrassed, the EU and most particularly the UN. That group is extremely useful to Chinese foreign policy and it constitutes their most effective check on U.S. policy at the moment. If the UN cannot solve, or at least seem to be making headway, with the North Korean problem then the Chinese stand to lose the UN as a tool, and given their aspirations toward Taiwan that would be exceedingly inconvenient...It will all be for show, but they'll respond. They have to."
Great assessment. Unbelievable how much BS is floating out there in foreign policy circles. The good news is that it's becoming more transparent by the day.
The Bad Cop seems to be a beneficial actor, then (to a liberal[or RINO])..
The whole Korea/China thing is a Dog and Pony Show..
Indeed. China's Sock-Puppet is doing exactly as China wants. If China was truly upset, then Kim Il Jung would already be having a dirt-nap.
I think we need to let China know that we see them as N.Korea's legal guardian in so much as they are liable for N.Korea's actions. Sanction them as we would N. Korea. It would hurt us economically, but the alternative is getting nuked by NK and the PRCs Proxy (Iran, Ect).
China is behind a significant amount of the spreading of nuke and missile technology throughout the world including Pakistan, North Korea and thus also Iran. They see it as a way of "sticking" it to the US and we should now take this opportunity to "stick" it to them in a manner that will really hurt them. Specifically, I would encourage both Japan and Taiwan to develop nukes, missile delivery systems and antimissile systems. This would thwart China's designs against Taiwan and also make it much harder for them to threaten Japan.You make a lot of good points but you leave out a (metaphorical) "nuclear option". If we shut down all imports from China, it would bring down the Chinese regime. It would be hard on us, but devastating on them. And no US politicos are even talking about it.
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