Officials in Washington believe Beijing is “enabling” dangerous behavior by North Korea, John Pomfret reports for the Washington Post:
In meetings with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing and in Washington since North Korea launched a deadly artillery barrage at a South Korean island on Nov. 23, U.S. officials have charged that China is turning a blind eye to North Korean violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, international agreements and a 1953 armistice halting the Korean War that China helped to negotiate.
The accusations mark a further deterioration of the tone and direction of the U.S. relationship with Asia’s emerging giant and come as both countries prepare for a second summit next month between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.
“The Chinese embrace of North Korea in the last eight months has served to convince North Korea that China has its back and has encouraged it to behave with impunity,” said a senior administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “We think the Chinese have been enabling North Korea.”
The Korean Peninsula, the official added, has catapulted to the “top of the security agenda when President Hu comes here . . . and the Chinese are aware of it.”