After North Korea’s bomb test, China ponders a problematic friendship – Simon Montlake

From The Christian Science Monitor:

North Korea’s reported nuclear test and the ensuing diplomatic fallout come as China calibrates its role as a rising global power. How a newly emboldened China decides to handle its erratic ally – after what has widely been seen as a slap in the face for Beijing’s negotiating track – could also shape China’s foreign policy on other fronts, analysts say.

China strongly condemned Monday’s test, which may have upended its status as the only confirmed nuclear power in East Asia. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao said Tuesday that North Korea’s test had damaged bilateral relations, and that China wanted to see “appropriate action” from the United Nations Security Council.

But behind China’s stern rebuke is a reluctance to use multilateral sanctions or military force to bring Kim Jong Il’s regime to heel – tactics that Beijing would see as unwelcome precedents with potentially destabilizing effects on the region.[Full Text]

Read more reports:
The Next Step Depends on U.S. and China from the Los Angles Times
China Shows Willingness to Punish North Korea for Test from the New York Times

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