N. Korea thumbs nose at China

Published on Author howe

Could North Korea’s nuclear test last week be the final straw before the international community takes more serious action against the rogue regime? Chinese resistance to tougher sanctions has weakened past efforts to dissuade Pyongyang from testing nuclear capabilities, but Beijing may be shying away from their longtime ally.

In the weeks preceeding the test, Chinese diplomats were busy trying to convince North Korea to heed the cries of the international community and stand down. Pyongyang’s decision to carry out the test in the face of its only ally is a sign of how dangerous and unpredictable the regime is. If China cannot persuade North Korea, surely no one can. Furthermore, China’s apparent lack of influence may cause Beijing to re-think how far they are willing to go in support of their supposed ally. The test was carried out on the Chinese lunar new year, magnifying the amount of disrespect perceived by Beijing.

China’s main reason for supporting North Korea is to prevent a unified Korean Peninsula, which they fear would be closely allied with the United States. At what point is this threat outweighed by North Korea’s irrational and dangerous behavior? Surely China knows that North Korea’s time is running short, and they can’t continue to defend Pyongyang’s provacative actions. China’s condemnation of the nuclear test, as well as their decision in January to side with the UN Security Council in backing further sanctions for North Korea, is a step in the right direction of completely isolating North Korea from the rest of the world.

video sources from cnn.com

6 Responses to N. Korea thumbs nose at China

  1. The effect of international condemnation means little to what seems to be a now completely isolated N.K. I would interested in seeing what kind of affect financial sanctions have on a country and its willingness to compromise on issues. Iran and NK are unfortunately I am sure hard to pull data from in that regard.

  2. China’s involvement is a relief to the United States and other international powers who gave grown tired of playing global policeman. After two wars in the middle east the United States and most of Europe can hardly afford another war in North Korea, especially considering how disastrous the Korean War was in 1950. China’s army could easily prevent any nuclear threat for North Korea given its enormous size and close geographical location.

  3. As stated above, China is North Korea’s most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, weapons, and energy. By supporting North Korea, the Chinese are not only ensuring a friendly northeastern border (and buffer zone between China and South Korea), but also China is gaining economically. A growing number of Chinese firms are investing in North Korea (developing mineral resources for example) and gaining concessions like preferable trading terms and port operations.

    Question: What are the repercussions to China’s poor northeastern provinces and to North Korea as a whole if the issues are not resolved soon?

    • Chinese investors have not done well in NKorea — cheap labor but endless hassle, as they’ve not proven immune from political intervention, indeed they’re one more hostage held by NKorea.

      See my note on a previous post. I think it’s more useful to view NKorea as holding China hostage that NKorea as a Chinese ally.

  4. Having China begin to question the legitimacy of its relationship with North Korea will definitely show to be a positive for the United States in the future. The more leverage we have when speaking to China about the negative aspects of North Korea’s administration, the better we will be able to look when facing issues involving the UN and other country alignments. As unsettling as North Korea’s erratic behavior is, in the future if behavior such as this continues, China may be faced to sever relations with North Korea and back US involvement. This future will rely on North Korea’s decision making and how tenuous Chinese-North Korea relations become.

  5. Another important aspect to consider in the controversy over North Korea’s recent nuclear test is Russia’s current position regarding the test. Both Russia and China have both stated that they condemn the test, but they also oppose military intervention. Such actions need to be agreed upon by the UN security council, in which both China and Russia have veto power. The response is reasonable given the fact that North Korea’s actions are more of a threat to the US and South Korea than to Russia and China who have more favorable relations with NK.