News / Asia

    Seoul: China Strengthens Resolve Against N. Korea Nuclear Test

    South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se gesture to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (L)  before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, May 26, 2014.
    South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se gesture to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (L) before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, May 26, 2014.
    Daniel Schearf
    South Korea says China has agreed to cooperate in opposing North Korea's threat to test a fourth nuclear device.  The agreement was reached during a meeting with China's visiting top diplomat in anticipation of a state visit by President Xi Jinping.  But political analysts disagree on whether it is in Beijing's best interest to further pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programs.  

    South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se says he and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, agree Pyongyang's nuclear activities are a serious threat to peace and stability in the region.
     
    Pyongyang is threatening to test a fourth nuclear device in defiance of United Nations resolutions.  The bluster follows U.N. and international condemnation in March of a series of rocket launches that experts say are veiled tests for ballistic missiles.
     
    China has been reluctant to publicly and explicitly warn its neighbor and historic ally against the tests.
     
    But after Ministers Yun and Wang met Monday in Seoul, South Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying they agreed on the nuclear issue.
     
    It said the two sides would strengthen cooperation against North Korea's nuclear tests and urge meaningful dialogue for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programs.  The statement said they agreed not to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.
     
    Jung Jae-heung, a researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University,  says it is in China's best interest to be more strict with North Korea.

    He says if North Korea conducts a fourth nuclear test, then security in the region will become unstable.  That would make South Korea, the United States and Japan strengthen cooperation, which would affect the security concerns of China.
     
    China's silence

    But China's official statements on the ministers' meeting made no mention of opposing North Korea's threatened nuclear test.
     
    The official Xinhua news agency said Wang urged all sides to refrain from activity that threatened peace in the region and repeated calls for six-nation negotiations.
     
    North Korea's top nuclear negotiator met with former U.S. officials in Mongolia last week to discuss the issue.  Although unofficial, the talks were seen as a positive step to possibly reviving negotiations.
     
    Minister Wang also met with South Korea's President Park Geun-hye who called for North Korea to at least suspend its Yongbyon nuclear plant and threats of a test.
     
    The China-hosted denuclearization talks with the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, and the United States were last held in 2008.  Since then, North Korea tested a second and third nuclear explosive and numerous rockets before declaring its intention to talk.
     
    Beijing support an unconditional return to talks but Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington want to see sincere gestures from Pyongyang.
     
    Heo Jai-chul, a research professor at the Korean-Chinese Relations Institute of Wonkwang University, says there is no doubt Beijing opposes Pyongyang's nuclear tests, but that does not mean it sees the same solution as Seoul.
     
    He says China sees North Korea’s nuclear development as a security threat but one that originates from the (military) alliance between South Korea and the United States.  So he expects China will suggest South Korea and the U.S. refrain from military exercises to help prevent North Korea’s nuclear testing.
     
    China lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting on North Korea's side against U.S.-led U.N. forces in the 1950s Korean War.  The three-year conflict ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty that keeps Korea, technically, in a state of war with occasional hostilities.
     
    Warmer relations

    In contrast, relations between South Korea and China quickly warmed over economics and a mutual historic grievance over Japan.  China is South Korea's top trade partner while South Korea ranks China's fourth largest.
     
    Beijing supported past U.N. resolutions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile programs and restricted some trade and financial dealings.
     
    But researcher Jung says it is not clear if a fourth nuclear test would prompt Beijing to back tougher sanctions.
     
    He says if China used strong economic sanctions against North Korea it could collapse and trigger a wave of North Korean refugees into China.  He says North Korean nuclear weapons could be leaked to groups related to terrorism, posing a threat to China’s security.  So, it would be more difficult for China to impose sanctions against North Korea than what we think.
     
    Despite the differences on dealing with North Korea, China called relations with South Korea the best they have ever been.
     
    Ministers Yun and Wang discussed an expected visit to South Korea by China's President Xi Jinping that could come as early as June.
     
    South Korea's Joongang Daily newspaper reports it would be the first visit by a Chinese president to Seoul before visiting Pyongyang in nearly two decades.
     
    That would send a signal to North Korea that while China is increasingly uneasy with its old ally it is becoming closer to its historic enemy.

    VOA Seoul bureau producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 28, 2014 9:23 AM
    How the US and it's allies that meet with Chinese diplomats, always interpret what the Chinese say, as meaning something completely different? -- Whatever the Chinese say, the US and it's allies twist and turn it, to use as propaganda against China or North Korea.. -- (Truth is non-existent?) PS; _ China repeatedly says, they want peace on the Korean peninsula, (6) nation talks, and non confrontational dialog seeking a peaceful solution, with all sides turning down the belligerent rhetoric? -- China doesn't interfere in the politics of other countries. ....

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.