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Worst-ever relationship between North Korea and China

Posted July. 28, 2014 02:38,   


Although North Korea is celebrating the 61st anniversary of the “Korean War Victory Day (the date of the armistice on July 27), China is known to have not sent a high-level delegation to the North. It is in some contrast to sending the Vice President of the People`s Republic of China Li Yuanchao to the 60th anniversary ceremony in North Korea last year.

A government official said China appears to not have sent a high-ranking official to North Korea this year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, on the stroke of midnight between Saturday and Sunday, paid his respects to the Pyongyang Kumsusan Palace of the Sun which serves as a mausoleum to the remains of his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Ill. The day before, in Pyongyang, an event to celebrate the anniversary was held. On the night of July 27, there were celebratory shots fired but this year there appears virtually no special commemorative event. A government official commented that since this year is the 61st anniversary and therefore not a year that ends with a “zero” or a “five,” which North Korea considers significant, there were no large-scale events

China’s diplomacy expert Renmin University professor Shi Yinhong said in a telephone call with the Dong-A Ilbo that currently, China-North Korean relations are at their worst since 1950. It means that regular annual banquets held formerly at diplomatic missions of both nations and relevant commemorative events have been scaled back or omitted.

Professor Shi said it is difficult to expect an immediate visit by a high-ranking Chinese official to North Korea, as only working-level officials have been to the North to coordinate prerequisite conditions to resume the six-party talks. He said when Vice President Li attended the 60th anniversary in 2013, Jang Sung-taek was still in power, noting the frosty relations of the two nations since pro-China Jang was eliminated.

North Korea has recently through talks by the spokesman of the National Defense Commission and its state-run medium Rodong Sinmun that China lacks a backbone and ignores the tyranny of the U.S., criticizing China. Evaluations are that such open censure towards a military ally with which it engaged in the Korean War on the same side is unusual.

A government official said contributing background factors are that China appears to provide North Korea with crude oil only limitedly and China’s having joined the criticism of the U.N. Security Council towards North Korea’s shooting missiles. Another factor appears to be that North Korea’s southern rival South Korea succeeded in holding a bilateral summit with China before with North Korea.

Yet there are also analyses that this chilliness is more of a rest period for both than a shift in their basic alliance. Another government official said the North Korea-China relations may change in their atmosphere in the second half through bilateral dispatch of high-level officials and of envoys. The official stressed that it is because the two nations still need each other. The anniversary of North Korea’s regime foundation and the anniversary of diplomatic ties between North Korea and China could serve as breakthrough opportunities