North Korea’s Nuclear Test Puts China in a Tight Spot

From Tania Branigan of the Guardian, a look at China’s precarious relationship with North Korea:

It has been decades since American bombs rocked Dandong, the main crossing on the 800-mile Chinese-North Korean border. But this week another explosion shook China and the new threat is from its old ally. North Korea’s nuclear test has raised tensions throughout the region – and increased pressure on China to rein in its neighbour.

China provides as much as 90% of the North’s energy and 40% of its food. Like Russia, it has used its security council veto against attempts to isolate Pyongyang. Without its support, its poor neighbour would struggle to survive.

But now it appears that the North may be exhausting Beijing’s patience. This week’s nuclear and missile tests, last month’s rocket launch, increasing threats and the suspected restarting of the Yongbyon nuclear plant have reignited debate about how best to deal with a troublesome neighbour.

Read other recent reports on China-North Korea relations here on CDT. John Pomfret blogs on “Why China Won’t Do More With North Korea,” and Mark Landler and David E. Sanger write about the U.S. applying pressure on China for the New York Times.

May 30, 2009 9:09 PM
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Categories: Politics, Sci-Tech, Society