FOREIGN AFFAIRS: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Beijing thwarts sanctions against North Korea
, June 12, 2010
In a move which shows the Communist regime in Beijing in its true colours, Beijing has effectively protected North Korea from international sanctions, after it was proven that a North Korean submarine had torpedoed a South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, in international waters, with the loss of 46 lives.
|The leaders of China and North Korea |
shaking hands in the Great Hall of the
People, Beijing, on 5 May 2010.
Both the United States and South Korea directly requested the Chinese Government to rein in the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang; but China's response was simply to point to the fact that North Korea had expressed "regret" for the deaths of the 46 South Korean crew.
It also emerged that Kim Jong-il had undertaken a visit to Beijing after the sinking, as a guest of China's President, Hu Jintao, and Beijing had done nothing to bring Kim into line.
In fact, from the report published in the official Chinese government media, the talks between Kim Jong-il and the Chinese leadership, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaboa, represented a meeting of minds.
According to the Chinese official news agency, Xinhua, "During their talks, Hu expressed warm welcome to Kim on behalf of the CPC, Chinese government and people.
"Hu also expressed gratitude for the condolence from the DPRK [North Korea] to earthquake-hit Yushu in northwest China, as well as the DPRK's active participation in the World Expo in Shanghai.
"During Kim's stay in Beijing, Hu hosted a welcoming banquet in honour of Kim and accompanied Kim in a visit to a biological company."
It quoted Kim Jong-il as saying that North Korea "remains unchanged in sticking to denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula", and added, "Kim said the DPRK will work with China to create favourable conditions for restarting the six-party talks". These talks are aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Yet there was nothing in the report to indicate that the six-party talks are going to be restarted, nor that pressure was being brought to bear on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program or its offensive ballistic missile program which has raised deep concerns not only in South Korea, but in Japan, the United States, Taiwan and elsewhere in north Asia.
A further sign of China's real attitude to Pyongyang was shown in comments made by Zhou Yongsheng, an international politics specialist at the China Foreign Affairs University. In remarks which could not have been published without the acquiescence of the Beijing regime, he said, "It would be difficult for North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal."
He wrote in the Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao
, "When Pyongyang didn't have the weapons, they were reluctant to abandon [efforts to develop them]. Now that the DPRK already possesses the weapons, they would be even less willing to give them up." (Ming Pao
, May 5, 2010).
The clear message is that China's good relations with the Stalinist dictator in North Korea are of more importance than its relations with the United States, South Korea or Japan.
There are other signs that China is assisting its Communist neighbour. Despite UN Security Council declarations imposing sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear test last year, trade with China is booming.
China is now North Korea's main trading partner and source of foreign investment. Last November, China's Premier Wen Jiabao announced a major trade package which was estimated to be worth $US10 billion. North Korea recently established the State Development Bank and Taepung International Investment Group, headed by a Korean-Chinese businessman, with the role of attracting foreign investment.
Everyone knows that, with a wave of his hand, China's President Hu Jintao could sweep away the Stalinist dictatorship in Pyongyang, if he wanted to. North Korea is totally dependent on China for fuel and hard currency, and China has a powerful army which could occupy North Korea overnight.
But China is responding to its totalitarian neighbour's provocative and intolerable behaviour with handshakes and smiles.
One factor which lies behind China's warm relationship with its truculent neighbour is the fact that Kim Jong-il is in poor health, and is reportedly counting on China to assist in the transfer of power from Kim to his son, the 26-year-old Kim Jong-un. Having reduced North Korea to the status of a vassal, China is apparently now arranging the transfer of power in Pyongyang to the third generation of the Kim dynasty.
The effect of this will be to ensure that North Korea can continue its aggressive behaviour towards South Korea, as well as its nuclear weapons program and its continued persecution of its own people, secure in the knowledge that it is being protected by the Chinese regime.
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, continues to assert that the United States wants Beijing to use its good offices with Pyongyang to rein in the Stalinist dictatorship. Whom does she think she's fooling?