News

Panetta: China Assisted North Korea Missile Program

A Chinese border policeman displays confiscated vanadium bound for North Korea at a checkpoint in Dandong, Liaoning province. Chinese border police have seized 70 kg (154 lb) of the strategic metal vanadium bound for North Korea, foiling an attempt to smu
A Chinese border policeman displays confiscated vanadium bound for North Korea at a checkpoint in Dandong, Liaoning province. Chinese border police have seized 70 kg (154 lb) of the strategic metal vanadium bound for North Korea, foiling an attempt to smu
Shannon Sant

China has recently joined with other countries in condemning North Korea for a failed missile launch earlier this month.  It was a rare public rebuke of its internationally isolated ally, leading many to closely scrutinize whether Beijing’s policies toward Pyongyang are shifting.  

This week U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said China has provided some assistance to North Korea’s missile program, possibly violating U.N. sanctions on the country.

Beijing has denied the allegations, but Panetta says that China must do more to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

"We've made very clear to China that China has a responsibility here to make sure that North Korea -- if they want to improve the situation with their people, if they want to become a part of the international family, if they, in fact, want to deal with the terrible issues that are confronting North Korea, there's a way to do that," he said. "And China ought to be urging them to engage in those kinds of diplomatic negotiations. We thought we were making some progress and suddenly we're back at provocation."

Beijing has long been Pyongyang’s most important backer, providing key economic support and acting as an international advocate during times when tension escalates between Pyongyang and other countries.

Mike Chinoy is a Senior Fellow at USC's U.S.-China Institute and has traveled to North Korea 15 times.  He says there are signs that despite the close ties between the two, China may be re-evaluating its relationship.

“I think Beijing has been taken aback by the North Korean decision to stage the satellite launch and by the generally tough and somewhat truculent tone that the North Koreans have adopted.  It’s a problem for the Chinese, because they don’t really like what the North Koreans are doing,” Chinoy explained.

In South Korea this week, news media have focused on China’s repatriation policy for North Korean defectors. Beijing has long sent defectors back to the North, despite protests from South Korea and human rights activists that the practice endangers their lives.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin was asked about a possible change in policy this week and refused to confirm or deny the reports.  

He says I am not aware of the specifics, but China has been handling relevant issues according to humanitarian principles and domestic and international law.

In recent weeks China allowed five refugees, who had stayed for three years in South Korean diplomatic missions in Beijing, to safely seek asylum in Seoul.

Mike Chinoy says these kinds of actions could signal worsening relations between China and North Korea - but not necessarily a long-term policy change. “What we’re seeing is more likely to be occasional gestures by the Chinese to signal unhappiness with North Korea," he noted. "Rather than Beijing suddenly saying the door is open, come one, come all, we won’t send you back.”

There are signs that China’s longtime economic support has not waned since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Chinese government statistics indicate trade between the two countries jumped 18 percent in January, and Chinese exports to North Korea increased 24 percent that month compared to the same period last year.

Bradley Babson is chair of the DPRK Economic Forum at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “China is making sure that North Korea has the resources it needs to make this early 2012 transition period economically successful," he said.

China and Russia have also been building infrastructure projects like roads and highways to easily transport goods in and out of the country.  Bradley Babson says this is an indication that North Korea will continue to benefit from increased trade with its neighbors in the future. “The fact that they are publicizing these things is a signal of expectation that a lot more Chinese investment is going to come towards North Korea in the coming year or two,” he stated.

A key indicator for the future of their relationship could come in coming months, if North Korea carries out plans for another nuclear test.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs