US asks China to crack down on North Korea

Korean 'cold war': Senses Chinese frustration with its ally

Written by New York Times | Washington | Published: April 7, 2013 1:05 am


The Obama administration,detecting what it sees as a shift in decades of Chinese support for North Korea,is pressuring China’s new president,Xi Jinping,to crack down on the regime in Pyongyang or face a heightened American military presence in its region.

In a flurry of exchanges that included a recent phone call from President Obama to Xi,administration officials said,they have briefed the Chinese in detail about American plans to upgrade missile defenses and other steps to deter the increasingly belligerent threats made by North Korea’s young leader,Kim Jong-un.

China,which has been deeply suspicious of the American desire to reassert itself in Asia,has not protested publicly or privately as the United States has deployed ships and warplanes to the Korean Peninsula. That silence,American officials say,attests to both Beijing’s mounting frustration with the North and the recognition that its reflexive support for Pyongyang could strain its ties with Washington.

“The timing of this is important,” Tom Donilon,Obama’s national security adviser,said in an interview. “It will be an important early exercise between the United States and China,early in the term of Xi Jinping and early in the second term of President Obama.”

While administration officials cautioned that Xi has been in office for only a few weeks and that China has a history of frustrating the United States in its dealings with North Korea,Donilon said he believed that China’s position was “evolving.”

Judging whether China has genuinely changed course on North Korea is tricky: Beijing has appeared to respond to American pressure before,only to backtrack later. China,the North’s only strong ally,has long feared the United States would capitalize on the fall of the North Korean leadership by expanding American military influence on the Korean Peninsula.

Nor has China given clues about its intentions in its public statements,voicing grave concern about the rising tensions while being careful not to elevate Kim’s stature.

Chinese analysts say there are internal debates within Communist Party and the military about how to deal with Kim,and how strongly to enforce the United Nations’ economic sanctions that China signed on to last month.

The White House said it was encouraged by how swiftly China had supported the sanctions,which followed a North Korean nuclear test and a missile launch. But some diplomats and analysts say China has dragged its feet in enforcing them.

Many analysts say the sanctions cannot succeed without China’s cooperation,since it has close trade ties with North Korea and has in the past chosen to keep its government afloat by providing fuel and significant aid.

China continues to say economic sanctions will not work. A Chinese diplomat who is involved in policy on North Korea said recently that he thought China would enforce the new United Nations sanctions to a point but would not go as far as the Obama administration wanted.

More South Koreans leave Kaesong industrial park after ban

SEOUL: Kaesong industrial park,the last vestige of North co-operation with the South,moved closer to paralysis Saturday as nearly 100 South Korean workers went home across a border that Pyongyang has closed in the return direction. South Korean workers who left Kaesong complex just north of the heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone said their companies were running out of raw materials that ordinarily would be trucked in from the South. AP

Will take appropriate decision on advisory: India

NEW DELHI: India Saturday said it had taken note of a North Korean advisory to foreign missions in Pyongyang for evacuation amid concerns that the country was preparing a missile launch at a time of heightened nuclear tension.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here Saturday,“India has taken note of it and is in touch with our mission. We will take an appropriate decision in time.”

North Korea had Friday warned all the foreign embassies that it could not guarantee the safety of diplomats after April 10 and asked them to consider moving staff out of the country.


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