Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Five questions on China-N. Korea relations
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 3, 2017

US president-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly called out China for doing too little to help stop North Korea's nuclear programme, and on Monday he took to Twitter again to blast Beijing.

"China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea," he tweeted. "Nice!"

His comments come a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un appeared to try to put pressure on Trump by announcing his country is in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US," Trump also tweeted. "It won't happen!"

But what leverage does the incoming American president really have over the hermetic nation? And what could Beijing do to stop it? Here are five questions on the China-North Korea relationship.

- Why is the North obsessed with nuclear weapons?

Pyongyang is still technically at war with the US after the Korean War of 1950-53 ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

The North Korean leadership has built its claim to domestic legitimacy on military might and says a credible nuclear deterrent is critical to the nation's survival, arguing it is under constant threat from an aggressive United States.

Although it has regularly threatened neighbouring South Korea, its main priority is developing an effective strike threat against the US mainland.

- How does China fit in?

China is North Korea's only ally, its main diplomatic protector, and its economic lifeline.

The two countries' Communist parties are linked by ideology, sympathy, and decades of history, with Chinese forces' intervention decisive in saving the North from being overrun during the Korean War.

Beijing sent vast numbers of soldiers to the peninsula, with Western historians estimating 400,000 died, and Chinese sources settling on a figure of about 180,000.

Mao Zedong described the neighbours as being as close as "lips and teeth".

Beijing's nightmare scenario is that if the Pyongyang regime collapses, millions of hungry North Koreans might flood over its border -- and the US-allied South would take over, meaning American troops could be stationed right on the Chinese border.

- Are Beijing-Pyongyang ties weakening?

Beijing regularly says it "firmly opposes" the North's nuclear tests and calls for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Following Trump's remarks, on Tuesday a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman again declared it would "stay committed to denuclearisation" on the peninsula.

"We hope that relevant parties would refrain from words and deeds that will lead to the escalation of tension," Geng Shuang told reporters.

China sees Kim Jong-un's energetic pursuit of a nuclear programme as a source of instability, and consistently calls for the revival of six-party talks to find a solution.

But it has resisted targeting the country's fragile economy for fear of provoking an implosion.

Even so its patience with Kim is running thin and he has not visited China since taking power -- a possible sign of the Chinese Communist Party rulers' displeasure with the young leader.

- Could Beijing stop Pyongyang?

It is not clear whether China could rein in the North even if it wanted to.

Beijing has ensured that past UN Security Council resolutions on sanctions against Pyongyang have included humanitarian exemptions, and has continued to purchase huge amounts of North Korean coal -- $101 million worth in October alone -- a crucial source of foreign exchange for Pyongyang.

But the latest resolution, passed in December, had no such clause and Beijing announced it would suspend purchases of coal from the North -- for three weeks to December 31.

- What leverage does the US have?

Not much -- it has been unable to influence China's North Korea policy for years.

Washington has long pursued a policy of "strategic patience" -- essentially a refusal to engage in any significant dialogue unless Pyongyang made some tangible commitment to denuclearisation.

And impeachment of South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye -- a hardliner on Pyongyang -- could result in a more pro-engagement leader taking office, undermining Washington's efforts to pressure the North.

Trump has suggested that the US' longstanding One-China policy could be upended if Beijing does not do more to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Final U.S. ship transferred to South Korean navy decommissioned
Jinhae, South Korea (UPI) Dec 29, 2016
The South Korean navy officially decommissioned the vessel Pyeongtaek, the last ship transferred to the branch from the United States. Pyeongtaek, an Edenton-class search-and-rescue ship, was initially in service with the U.S. Navy designated as USS Beafort. South Korea received the vessel as part of the Security Assistance Program on Aug. 29, 1996. The ship was withdrawn from se ... read more

Tech show looks beyond 'smart,' to new 'realities'

'Passengers' and the real-life science of deep space travel

NASA Readies for Major Orion Milestones in 2017

India achieves advances multiple space systems in 2016

Russia won't be leaving Baikonur anytime soon

Russia to double number of space launches in 2017

SpaceX concluded accident investigation, to start launching rockets again

SpaceX sets launch date for Falcon 9 RTF

Small Troughs Growing on Mars May Become 'Spiders'

All eyes on Trump over Mars

Opportunity performs several drives to ancient gully

Full go-ahead for building ExoMars 2020

China Space Plan to Develop "Strength and Size"

Beijing's space program soars in 2016

Chinese missile giant seeks 20% of a satellite market

China-made satellites in high demand

Airbus DS and Energia eye new medium-class satellite platform

OneWeb announces key funding form SoftBank Group and other investors

Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development

SoftBank delivers first $1 bn of Trump pledge, to space firm

Saab, UAE sign radar support deal

Elbit contracted for airborne laser designator work

Scientists create tiny laser using silver nanoparticles

Divide and conquer pattern searching

The blob can learn and teach

Searching a sea of 'noise' to find exoplanets - using only data as a guide

Microlensing Study Suggests Most Common Outer Planets Likely Neptune-mass

Exciting new creatures discovered on ocean floor

Exploring Pluto and the Wild Back Yonder

Juno Captures Jupiter 'Pearl'

Juno Mission Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby

Research Offers Clues About the Timing of Jupiter's Formation

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement