Saturday, February 12, 2005

China and North Korea

North Korea would not exist if China had not entered the Korean War. Therefore, it has always been my view that China, and not the United States, has a unique responsibility with respect to keeping North Korea in check. Maybe, just maybe, China is going to step up to the plate. Consider this.
BEIJING, Feb. 12 - State-controlled media and censored Internet chat rooms in China have become uncommonly critical of North Korea in the two days since it declared that it had nuclear weapons, even as the foreign ministry here has said fairly little.

The criticism by state-run media is important because the Chinese government has tended to take a protective position, at least in public, toward North Korea, its neighbor and sometime ally. China also has more influence with North Korea than any other country does, providing it with much of its fuel, food and other supplies - although even Chinese influence has proved limited at times. . .

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said, "The Chinese government is really angry in their hearts about the declaration of North Korea, so they take a permissive attitude toward the media," allowing greater criticism of North Korea. Sentiment has started shifting against North Korea among those in China who follow foreign affairs and possibly among the broader public, he said, adding, "For this moment, many people are strongly inclined to think the bad guy is North Korea."