Tension, Desperation: The China-North Korean Border – Norimtsu Onishi

From The New York Times:

NORTH KOREA’S porous 880-mile border with China is its lifeline to the outside world. About 39 percent of its trade last year was with China, which, critically, supplies it with 80 to 90 percent of its oil. Trafficking in money transfers and human beings also flourishes.

By contrast, North Korea’s border with Russia is 11 miles and heavily guarded; the 150-mile-long demilitarized zone with South Korea has hundreds of thousands of soldiers on each side. Until now, the North’s ships have regularly visited Japan, from which relatives sent cash and goods, but North Korea’s nuclear test is expected to end that trade.

For China, the bottom line is to erect the right number of fences, as it did along the border city of Dandong recently. Build too few and you invite instability in China. Build too many and North Korea collapses. [Full Text]

Related Chinese blog from Bei Wa says, “After North Korea’s missile test, a common official from North Korea’s Congress visited China, China’s President, Prime Minister, and other top leaders welcomed him warmly. While China’s vice premier planned to visit North Korea, he was rejected by “Big Master Kim”, the president of North Korea. This made China very unhappy……Think about when President Hu’s visited North Korea earlier, “Big Master Kim” demanded hundreds of thousands of Pyongyang citizens lined the streets to welcome Hu. Comparing the attitude North Korean government treating China now, it’s not sure whether China should laugh or cry.”

October 21, 2006 8:45 PM
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