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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.