China may hold key to stopping North Korea's nuclear program

WASHINGTON -- Diplomatic engagement has failed to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Sanctions have been tightened with little result.

See Full Article

And military force could be catastrophic. So what can the world do to bring Kim Jong Un's renegade government into line? The answer may rest with China.

While Beijing's influence over North Korea appears to have diminished since Kim came to power in 2012, it remains its key trading partner. Experts say China could do more to restrict North Korea's use of Chinese banks and limit supplies of food and fuel that provide an economic lifeline to Pyongyang.

Wednesday's purported hydrogen bomb test will intensify pressure on China to tighten the screws on Kim. It has been leery of taking such steps because of fears that a collapse of North Korea's socialist government could cause an influx of refugees and lead to a pro-American, unified Korean nation on China's doorstep.

China immediately made plain its displeasure with Pyongyang, saying it "firmly opposed" the test. "North Korea should stop taking any actions which would worsen the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing.

China's U.S. ambassador met at the White House on Wednesday with President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, and China joined the U.S. in supporting a U.N. Security Council statement that strongly condemned the test and pledged to pursue new sanctions.

But North Korea has proved adept at circumventing existing restrictions and at using its indigenous capabilities to develop its weapons. Because of its international isolation, the North is less susceptible to financial sanctions than a major economy like Iran.

Incentives haven't worked either. Three U.S. administrations, going back to President Bill Clinton, have coaxed the North to disarm in exchange for aid, but each effort has eventually failed.

And taking a tougher military stance against Pyongyang means unpalatable risks. An American attack could put U.S. ally South Korea in the firing line of the world's fifth-largest army, which could launch a massive artillery barrage on the capital, Seoul.

The Obama administration has claimed improved co-operation from China on North Korea policy. Beijing, for example, supported a U.N. resolution in response to North Korea's last nuclear test in 2013. According to Washington, China has improved its enforcement of existing sanctions, but could do more.

Yet North Korea has balked at returning to international aid-for-disarmament talks as it looks to assert itself as a nuclear weapons state. It claims it needs such weapons to deter an invasion by the United States, which retains 28,000 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended without a peace treaty.

Since the six-nation talks stalled in 2008, the North has conducted three atomic test explosions and blasted its first rocket into space as it hones technology that could help it fire a weapon at America.

Secretary of State John Kerry repeated on Wednesday the U.S. stance that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear state. "Actions such as this latest test only strengthen our resolve," he said.

Yet North Korea has not been a top priority for Obama, despite his willingness to engage with adversaries and the bold steps his administration has taken with other world powers to arrest Iran's nuclear program.

The administration has gradually increased sanctions on North Korea while leaving the door open to negotiations. The one concerted U.S. effort to revive the six-nation disarmament talks with North Korea quickly failed in 2012 when Kim's government conducted a rocket launch in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

One reason for the lack of urgency has been a three-year hiatus in North Korean nuclear tests or long-range rocket launches. With the U.S. and other world powers preoccupied with turmoil in the Mideast, international concern over Pyongyang's quiet progress in developing its weapons has been muted.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • University of Guelph giving raises to full-time female faculty after review

    Canada News CTV News
    All full-time female faculty members at the University of Guelph will be getting a raise after a salary review found they were being paid less than their male colleagues. Charlotte Yates, the provost at the Ontario university, said the decision comes after crunching the numbers gathered through the review launched last year. Source
  • Authorities: 3 dead in shooting outside a Walmart in Alabama

    World News CTV News
    TALLASSEE, Ala. -- A gunman crashed into a vehicle outside a Walmart store on Tuesday morning, opening fire and killing two women before taking his own life, authorities said. Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock said as an investigation unfolded that it appeared the shooter purposely rammed a car into another vehicle in the store parking lot before he opened fire. Source
  • Hudson's Bay, other stores pressured to dump Trump products, amid tariff tiff

    Canada News CBC News
    The recent tariff dispute between Canada and U.S. has sparked a renewed social media call to boycott stores carrying Trump family merchandise. However, the campaign may be fruitless, according to some business strategy experts. They say not only do boycotts not tend to work, but also, goods associated with the family of U.S. Source
  • Burton Cummings in good spirits after car accident in May

    Canada News CBC News
    Burton Cummings says he was lucky to walk away from a recent car accident, but mentally, it has left a scar on the Canadian music icon. The Winnipeg rocker and former Guess Who frontman was in good spirits in Toronto Monday night, offering an update on his health from the SOCAN Awards. Source
  • Body of missing PhD student found in Lake Ontario in Niagara region

    Canada News CTV News
    VAUGHAN, Ont. -- Police say a Toronto-area PhD student who went missing last month has been found dead in the Niagara region. Officers say local authorities found the body of Zabia Afzal, 30, in Lake Ontario on Friday. Source
  • Manitoba judge upholds former law that banned switching party

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A Manitoba judge has rejected a claim that a law which prevented members of the legislature from switching party caucuses was unconstitutional. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheldon Lanchbery ruled that the legislature can set its own rules about caucus membership and the courts should not interfere. Source
  • Calgarian crowned Canadian Scrabble champ with 'blargh' and 'pashmina'

    Canada News CBC News
    Eric Tran of Calgary credits his Canadian National Scrabble Championship win to skill, luck and a dash of creativity. The 30-year-old with a mathematics degree took a few chances with the word-playing board game, and they paid off. Source
  • Photographer shares rare look at child migrants at U.S-Mexico border

    World News CTV News
    A photojournalist who was denied access to a shelter for children of families illegally crossing the United States border ventured into Mexico in order to “find other ways to tell the story” and came back with raw, exclusive images of how the children are living. Source
  • Race begins today for new Assembly of First Nations national chief

    Canada News CBC News
    Experience usually helps when it comes to getting a job — except, it seems, when that job is at the helm of the Assembly of First Nations, where experience often seems more of a liability than an asset. Source
  • 'Ideological sex clubs': Alberta gay-straight alliance law faces court challenge

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta's law banning schools from telling parents when their children join a gay-straight alliance faces its first legal challenge. A Court of Queen's Bench judge in Medicine Hat, Alta., is to hear arguments Wednesday filed on behalf of 25 faith-based schools and others to put the law on hold pending a constitutional challenge. Source