China, North Korean, Foreign relations, Nuclear Issue
« Over the past 60 years, the great China-DPRK friendship, created by the older generations in the fights of blood and fire, has withstood various tests of international vicissitudes. » As stated by Mr Liu Xiaoming, ambassador of China in North Korea, the PRC is and has been for more than half a century one of Pyongyang's most reliable allies.
Today, Beijing is North Korea's closest ally, largest provider of food, fuel and industrial machinery, and is the country most able to influence Pyongyang's policies. China has been on Pyongyang's side ever since Chinese fighters flooded onto the Korean Peninsula to fight for the Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1950. Since that date, China has given both political and economic backing to North Korea's leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il. In recent years, China has been seen as one of the authoritarian regime's very few allies.
[...] To Beijing, the food and energy help they give is a way to control the Korean regime and might help North Korea reform its economy and maybe that the path towards a less erratic and dangerous governing. In that sense, it is a good investment for Chinese officials. Reconvening 6 Party Talks Beijing has a strong interest in seeing the six party talks being reconvened. Those talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns fuelled by the North Korean nuclear program. There are six participating states: the PRC, the Republic of South Korea, The DPRK, the USA, Russia and Japan. [...]
[...] The government also began the construction of another reactor and nuclear reprocessing facility and conducted high explosive detonation tests. In 1985, the US announced that they had intelligence data proving that a secret nuclear reactor was being built 90km north of Pyongyang. The same year, under international pressure, DPRK agreed to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but Pyongyang refused to sign a safeguards agreement with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), an obligation it had as a party to the NP Treaty. [...]
[...] The PRC plays also a great role in the implementation of sanction against North Korea. On the other hand and on a strictly economical level, North Korea is of little importance for China, for example, in 2008, the DPRK ranked 64th among China's export markets (behind countries such as Peru, Egypt, or Hungary) and as a source of imports, North Korea ranked 70th (behind Gabon, Yemen, or Belgium). Because of this unequal relationship, Beijing has some control over the authoritarian regime but not enough to lead them to halt their military development for instance. [...]
[...] When the PRC started normalizing its relations with the west and founded formal diplomatic ties with South Korea in 1992, ties between Beijing and Pyongyang turned a bit frosty, but the PRC remained North Korea's main ally, main economic partner following the collapse of the USSR and main provider of arms as a consequence of the great leaps in China's military power. When the Six Party Talks started in 2003, China joined them; at the same time Beijing increased its humanitarian help to Pyongyang. In 2006, Chinese authorities publicly rebuked their neighbour for the missile testing, and supported the UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which imposed sanctions on North Korea. [...]
[...] As such, the PRC has a North Korean policy that we are going to detail. But first we need to sum up what are the reasons for this help on Beijing's part, what are what we can call the “pros and cons” of having such a relationship with the authoritarian country. As for the pros, we can mention the shared socialist political ideologies, although Beijing has been taking a different turn for quite some time now, the important human and capital investment made in DPRK, the importance of Beijing's status as a patron and ally for its neighbouring countries, the increasing economuc ties between Chinese fronteers regions and north korea, Beijing's desire for a “buffer zone” between its national territory and American troops as a strategic military precaution, and the potentially catastrophic consequences for China's economy and social structure if something goes wrong in North Korea, with which China shares an 850 mile border. [...]
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