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Made in China

If there will ever be a solution to the North Korean nuclear missile crisis, it will heavily involve China. For that matter, for as long as the crisis continues, it will be because China chooses not to address it.

John J. Tkacik, Jr. of The Heritage Foundation is one of the best China analysts around and he gets right to the heart of the matter with China’s Army Yawns at Pyongyang’s Missiles.

After initially expressing “concern” over North Korea’s July 4th missile launches, China’s unwillingness to work towards serious sanctions on North Korea provides further proof that Beijing has little interest in restraining Pyongyang. What are we to make of the disconnect between Chinese rhetoric and action? In many ways, it reflects a disconnect between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—which almost certainly does not share any real concerns about North Korea’s missile provocations—and Chinese diplomats, who have largely been kept out of the loop. At the end of the day, Washington needs to face the fact that without any Chinese interest in disarming North Korea there is no viable solution to the North Korean nuclear problem.

No sanctions for North Korea, as China has said point blank that the current UN Security Council draft that calls for them "will fail." No sanctions either for Iran, itself racing down the nuclear arms road, as China has vowed to veto any sanctions on their Persian clients as well.

It has always seemed worth consideration that Iran was - at the very least - encouraging the North Koreans in their recent missile tests and the accompanying international banter. It served both well. It took the Iranians at least a bit off center stage, potentially aiding their waiting game while allowing North Korea to gleefully take their place in the matinee, furthering their extortion ploys. One wants more time, the other much less.

Consider the following paragraphs from Tkacik:

Just days before the July 4 missile tests, Beijing is reported to have been the transit point for ten Iranian missile scientists who visited North Korea with the mission, according to Japanese government sources quoted in Tokyo’s Sankei Shimbun, “to confirm the performance of missile-related equipment introduced by China” during launch preparations for North Korea’s Taepodong 2 missile.7

It is likely that those ten Iranians were at North Korea’s Musudanri launch base when the KPA launched the Taepodong 2 missile to mark the July Fourth celebrations, and at least some of the Iranians may have been at the Kitdaeryong base for the tests of North Korean Scuds and Nodong missiles. After all, there is no better way to “confirm the performance” of Chinese components in North Korean missiles than to observe several test firings.

News of the Iranian engineers’ presence was followed up by a Wall Street Journal report detailing North Korea’s sale of its newest missiles to Iran.8 On July 6, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, when asked about the Teheran-Pyongyang missile nexus, simply acknowledged that “one of [North Korea’s] only exports aside from counterfeit bills is weapons and weapons technology. That’s what they deal in. The bazaar is open as far as they are concerned.”

Everywhere you turn in today's crises, China remains in clear view, aiding regimes that starve or stone their populations while thrusting ballistic thorns in the American side.

4 Comments

Firstly, Iran is not a threat. The Uranium enrichment has been for energy purposes only. Scientific evidence shows that the Uranium required for power difers greatly from that of nuclear arms.

This Stanford University study, among others, is one resource:
http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/20380/Bunn_abs_feb_03.pdf

UN inspectors would be a simple solution to such a miniscule threat.

As for North Korea's relationship with China--I don't know what to say. Sanctions could hurt the people of the country more than the leader who is making the threatening descisions.

Yes, scientific 'eveidence' states that U235 enrichment required for power to be at 3-5% concentration.

Explain then the 36% and 54% concentration samples swabbed from the freshly scrubbed and repainted walls at the Kalaye Electric site in Tehran.

Iran is not a threat like salads are not healthy, Jeff.

As for China's relationship to North Korea, perhaps you might read Tkacik's article linked to your left. North Korea, as he rightly states, is host to the Chinese International Weapons Bazaar.

With regard to Iran, the nuclear crisis is a side show. It's a crisis not because the weapons are nuclear. it's a crisis because the regime in hot pursuit of them is the global lynchpin of international terrorism.

It's the terrorism, Jeff.

This administration has shown more strategic intelligence with NK's despotic government than any previous president's. But without China's willingness to change their pet buffer state, the tyranny and suffering in NK will go on. Just as general McArthur had to retreat from the Chinese, we cannot risk military confrontation with China even today. Unlike the previous presidents, Bush is shrewd to insist on China's presence in the talks with NK.

Ditto's to what Steve said.

Steve, my theory is that China neither wants to see the issue completely resolved nor do they want a war on their border. The reason for the former is that they want to keep the US distracted from their goal of retaking Taiwan, and the reasons for the latter are obvious.

But I'm not really quite sure how much influence China really has with the DPRK. There was a report on StrategyPage a few days ago about how the North Koreans were keeping the trains that China was using to send them food aid. Chinese requests to have them returned were ignored.

Now, if China turned up the screws full force, using the threat of military force, that might persuade Kim to come around.

The question is how to make the Chinese come around to our way of thinking, but unfortunately I don't know how to do this.

What do you think?