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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs