China has ruled out applying economic or political sanctions to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and still hopes negotiations can succeed in achieving that result, a Foreign Ministry official said today.
China has come under intensifying pressure from the United States to stiffen its approach to North Korea. Its announcement today is certain to disappoint the Bush administration.
Chinese officials acknowledge privately that they have grown increasingly frustrated with North Korea's refusal to resume six-nation negotiations that have been stalled since last year. But they say they see no good alternatives to engaging with the country, arguing that sanctions would only further alienate the regime while doing little to achieve the goal of rolling back its weapons effort.