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Sino-NK Dispute Purely Rhetorical

Park Seong Guk  |  2013-01-28 19:42
Although the Chinese government has expressed its opposition to any future North Korean nuclear test, netizens have also been voicing opposition and the Global Times, a part of the Chinese state media, has alluded to reduced support for North Korea in the event that such a test goes ahead, experts remain pessimistic about the likelihood of serious Chinese action.

Having voted in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 2087 on the 22nd, Chinese Communist Party General-Secretary Xi Jinping clearly conveyed China’s opposition to North Korean nuclear weapons in conversation with a South Korean delegation later the same week.

According to a diplomatic source in Beijing, the Chinese government has also been reviewing the idea of sending a delegation to North Korea to discourage the rumored third test.

However, a second diplomatic source familiar with Sino-North Korean relations told Daily NK on the 28th that he does not expect the bilateral dispute to extend beyond the rhetorical, explaining, “Around 90% of North Korea’s foreign currency is secured from China. If trade with China were suspended then the survival of the Kim Jong Eun regime would become impossible.”

Therefore, “Although China is sending multiple warnings about a North Korean nuclear test, because China prioritizes maintaining the Kim Jong Eun regime there will not be any major changes.”

Dr. Choi Chun Heum of the Korea Institute for National Unification also emphasized the same aspect, saying, “Security issues between the U.S. and China are more important to China than North Korean nuclear tests. If sanctions were to inspire anti-Chinese sentiment in North Korea then the Xi Jinping administration would be criticized by domestic conservatives.”

“China is going to keep saying that they are against North Korean nuclear weapons, but internally they will support North Korea and encourage them to be more pro-Chinese. China has not changed its stance, which is that isolating North Korea is not the way forward,” he added.
 
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