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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is likely to resist pressure to acknowledge that North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship when he flies to Seoul tomorrow to meet South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and Japan’s Yukio Hatoyama.
China hasn’t followed South Korea, Japan and the U.S. in blaming North Korea for the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun yesterday repeated a call for “restraint” by both sides and said China had no “firsthand information” on the sinking.
China has a big stake in stability in Northeast Asia. Japan and South Korea are China’s third- and fourth-biggest trading partners after the European Union and the U.S., with combined two-way trade reaching $485.1 billion in 2009, Chinese customs figures show.
China’s two-way trade with North Korea, at $2.7 billion last year, is less than 1 percent of that total, even though the two countries share a 1,415-kilometer (880-mile) border and an alliance going back to China’s 1950 entry into the Korean War.
“North Korea is dying, and we can make things worse,” Shen said. “We have assumed North Korea is not a rational actor.”
“China is doing the thing that best suits China’s interests and everyone’s interest,” Shen said. “China is not pushing the envelope either on the North Korean side to be aggressive or on the South Korean to punish North Korea with warfare.”
In response to the sinking, the U.S. military is preparing exercises with South Korea in anti-submarine maneuvers and interdicting vessels. The U.S. has about 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of its Korean War involvement in the 1950s.
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – China has signaled it could soon join the U.S. and its allies in blaming North Korea in the sinking of a South Korean warship, senior American officials said Wednesday. Speaking after strategic talks this week in Beijing, the U.S. officials said China indicated it is prepared to hold North Korea accountable for the March 26 torpedo attack and could join in some kind of formal rebuke by the U.N. Security Council.
On a visit to South Korea this weekend, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is likely to express regret for the deaths and hint that China will accept the results of an international investigation blaming North Korea, the U.S. officials said.
Originally posted by Sir Solomon
Robert Kaplan's The Geography of Chinese Power in the latest edition of the Foreign Affairs journal. The full article is only available to paying subscribers, but I'm sure your local university could get it for you. I did, however, find an op/ed version which I'll leave for anyone to look at.
Originally posted by tooo many pills
I wonder how many people living in North Korea would throw down all of their weapons and belongings just for the chance to run across the 38th parallel and be free if they weren’t going to get shot by their own people? North Korea has to have the most brainwashed soldiers if they really shoot anyone trying to escape from their own country.