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.