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Old Sunday, October 08, 2006
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Default N Korea 'to conduct nuclear test'

North Korea is to conduct a nuclear test "in the future", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The move would "bolster" the country's self-defence in the face of US military hostility, official agency KCNA said.
Pyongyang has faced mounting international pressure over its nuclear programme, and in July was condemned by the UN for test-launching missiles.
The news has been condemned by the US, Japan, South Korea and Russia - all members of the six-nation talks.
The US state department said any nuclear test would further isolate the North Korean regime and said the US would work with allies to discourage "such a reckless action".
North Korea gave no time-frame for a test, but correspondents say a successful nuclear trial would signal the end of international negotiations on the North's nuclear ambitions, and threaten a dangerous arms race in East Asia.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the nuclear test plans were unacceptable and would be responded to "harshly".
South Korea's government went into emergency security talks, while Yang Chang-Seok, a spokesman for the country's unification ministry, warned that any test would have "a decisively negative impact on inter-Korean relations".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for restraint, and a diplomatic solution, while UK foreign office officials warned of "serious consequences" to what would be regarded as "a highly provocative act".
North Korea is thought to have developed a handful of warheads but has never before announced it would test one.

Sanctions frustration
The announcement comes as six-nation talks on its nuclear programme have been stalled for a year.
The North has also appeared increasingly angry at sanctions imposed by the US and other countries on North Korean businesses accused of arms sales and illegal activities.
The statement from Pyongyang said it would "in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed", though it did not state when.
"The US daily increasing threat of a nuclear war and its vicious sanctions and pressure have caused a grave situation on the Korean Peninsula," it said.
The ministry went on to say that "under the present situation in which the US moves to isolate and stifle" North Korea, the country "can no longer remain an onlooker to the developments".
The move comes after the UN imposed sanctions on North Korea in July, for test-firing seven missiles including a long-range Taepodong-2 - believed to be capable of reaching Alaska.
The missile tests also prompted South Korea to suspend aid to the North, and correspondents say China had been showing signs of frustration with its old Communist ally.

Nuclear claims
North Korea claims to have nuclear weapons and to be working on building up its arsenal.
In 2002 it restarted its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and forced two UN nuclear monitors to leave the country.
It is unclear how far work has progressed at the plant since then.
Washington is not only concerned about the development of such weapons in North Korea, but also wants to curb Pyongyang's capacity to export missile and nuclear technology to other states or organisations.

Source: BBC
Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 14 : 07 GMT 15 : 07 UK
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Thumbs up China's Relationship with a Nuclear North Korea

China's Relationship with a Nuclear North Korea

Author: Carin Zissis, Staff Writer

October 24, 2006

Introduction

How has Pyongyang’s nuclear test affected Sino-North Korean relations?

Will China severely punish North Korea for the October test?

How does North Korea benefit from its relationship with China?

How does China benefit?

What dilemmas exist for Sino-DPRK relations?

What is the role of the United States in Sino-North Korean relations?

What does the future hold for Sino-North Korean relations?


Introduction

China is North Korea’s most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, arms, and fuel. In the hope of avoiding regime collapse and the associated influx of refugees across its 800-mile border with North Korea, China has propped up Kim Jong-Il and opposed harsh international economic sanctions against Pyongyang. Reports suggest that when the Kim regime conducted a nuclear test on October 9, it provided a warning to Beijing shortly before the test. But China registered its anger with Kim by agreeing to UN sanctions against North Korea, and experts believe it may be reconsidering the nature of the alliance.

How has Pyongyang’s nuclear test affected Sino-North Korean relations?

After the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) tested a nuclear weapon, China agreed to UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which imposed sanctions on Pyongyang. By signing off on this resolution—as well as earlier UN sanctions that followed the DPRK’s July missile tests—Beijing departed from its traditional relationship with North Korea, changing from a tone of diplomacy to one of punishment. Jonathan D. Pollack, an East Asia expert at the Naval War College, describes the DPRK’s tests as “jarring” to China’s “major diplomatic initiative” of bringing North Korea to the Six-Party Talks. He says Kim Jong-Il was effectively telling Beijing, “’You can not tell us what to do and we can not be taken for granted.’” The tests have “severely strained relations,” says Jing-dong Yuan of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. He describes the tests as “a slap in the face of China.”

Will China severely punish North Korea for the October test?

How far the Chinese go in punishing North Korea remains to be seen. They have conducted some truck inspections along the border and Chinese banks have stopped money transfers to North Korea. But Beijing only agreed to UN Resolution 1718 after revisions that removed requirements for tough economic sanctions beyond those targeting luxury goods, and experts say China is unlikely to cut trade relations with the Kim regime. Despite rumors that China may cut off oil supplies to North Korea, Peter Hayes, executive director of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development, says China will only take this action—as it has in the past—if Pyongyang fails to make a payment. Then, it can pass off such a measure to the United Nations as punishment. The Chinese are “doing just what they have to do and no more” in terms of punishing North Korea, says Selig S. Harrison, Asia program director at the Center for International Policy, who says the two countries will not jeopardize their mutually beneficial economic relationship.

How does North Korea benefit from its relationship with China?

Pyongyang is economically dependent on China, which provides most of its food and energy supplies. North Korea gets about 70 percent of its food and 70 to 80 percent of its fuel from China. Beijing is Pyongyang's largest trading partner, and an estimated 300,000 North Koreans live in China, many of them migrant workers who send much-needed remittances back home.

China also serves as a buffer between North Korea and the United States-Japan alliance, and has staved off UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea, including some threatening sanctions. China has hosted the Six-Party Talks, a series of meetings begun in 2003 in which North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States have tried to resolve the security concerns associated with North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

How does China benefit?

China's support for Pyongyang ensures a stable nation on its northeastern border and provides a buffer zone between China and democratic South Korea. North Korea's allegiance is also important for China as a force which compels the U.S. military, and the growing might of Japan, to divert resources to the Korean peninsula which otherwise might be employed to contain China itself. And China gains economically from its association with North Korea; growing numbers of Chinese firms are investing in North Korea and gaining concessions like preferable trading terms and port operations. Chinese trade and investment in North Korea now totals $2 billion per year.

Harrison says the nuclear test will not bring an end to the Sino-DPRK relationship. “They’re not hitting each other over the head; they’re two countries with an important mutual dependence.” However, he also says their alliance is held back by underlying suspicions stemming from China’s prior hegemony over the Korean peninsula.

What dilemmas exist for Sino-DPRK relations?

Mutual distrust. North Korea jeopardized relations with China, its most important ally after the fall of the Soviet Union, through the nuclear testing, yet distrust between the two countries predates the nuclear blast. Hayes says it goes back in part to 1992, when China became a “bad patron” by opening up relations with South Korea without requiring Washington to do the same for the North. The test was also a way for North Korea to tell Beijing that it is not China’s tributary state, as it was until the Korean peninsula fell under Japanese control in the early twentieth century. “Kim has to demonstrate that [North Korea] is not a pawn in the hands of Chinese leaders,” says Yuan.

North Korean refugees. China worries that DPRK regime disintegration would lead to a flood of refugees across their border, and that a South Korea burdened by the same problem would not be the same strong economic partner for Beijing. The current flow of refugees into China is already a problem: China has promised Pyongyang that it will repatriate North Koreans escaping across the border, but invites condemnation from human rights groups when sending them back to the DPRK. Yuan says Beijing began its construction of a barbed wire fence along this border for that reason.
Japanese militarism. Pyongyang’s reckless behavior has sparked increasing debate in Japan over whether it should go nuclear in the face of the North Korean threat. China has witnessed with growing wariness Japan’s remilitarization in recent years and fears the DPRK test could set off an arms race in the region. The test also drives a wedge between China and South Korea, which share a softer approach to North Korea, and the United States, which supports Japan’s growing militarism.

U.S. relations. The DPRK test complicated Beijing’s relations with Washington by calling into question China’s diplomatic approach to North Korea. Pollack says Kim conducted the nuclear test to say, “Ok, now I am on a more equal level to the United States, whether they like it or not,” and the result is a “palpable sense that [Chinese] strategy has failed.” But if China ’s policy has disappointed, so has the United States ’ more severe stance and unwillingness to engage in bilateral talks with North Korea. “It’s a shared failure,” says Pollack.

What is the role of the United States in Sino-North Korean relations?

Experts say North Korea angered Beijing by complicating its relationship with the United States. “What they’ve done has put China in a very awkward position,” says Harrison, adding that North Korea is unhappy with the way Washington uses Beijing to pressure North Korea. Yuan says Washington is pleased with China’s willingness to condemn North Korea and endorse sanctions, even if the degree to which Beijing will enforce those sanctions—and how much their enforcement is a show for the United States and the UN—remains unclear.

Rumors exist of Chinese grumblings of anger against the way Washington handles North Korea. “This has hugely damaged our reputation in the region. It has more than anything else angered the Chinese who feel the tests raise the possibility of Japan growing increasingly militaristic,” says Hayes, who predicts that in Asia, “Life will go on without the United States.”

What does the future hold for Sino-North Korean relations?

Beijing is rumored to have secured a promise that the DPRK would not conduct a second nuclear test during an October diplomatic trip to Pyongyang. Fears of further testing still loom, and if North Korea conducts another one Sino-DPRK relations could get “dicey,” says Pollack. But China will avoid moves—economic sanctions or aggressive actions—that would cause a sudden collapse of the regime. It no longer has the kind of deep knowledge of North Korean military personnel that it had twenty-five years ago when Beijing could have staged a coup. “It isn’t as though China really has the option of overthrowing Kim Jong-Il,” says Harrison.

Beijing may find ways to cause North Korea discomfort, but Hayes describes China as “patient” and foresees Beijing undertaking long-term training of North Koreans in China to help stabilize the country. “The Chinese are thinking one hundred years ahead,” he says. “China will conduct inside-out transformation of North Korea over the next twenty years.”

http://www.cfr.org/publication/11791...rth_korea.html
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