Trade on China and North Korea border continues despite nuclear test

DANDONG, China - Trucks rumbled across the Chinese-North Korean border Thursday in a sign that trade was continuing despite Beijing's anger over the North's avowed hydrogen bomb test, which could spark economic retaliation and further estrangement between the formerly friendly communist allies.

See Full Article

There were no obvious signs of disruption in the northeastern city of Dandong that sits on the Yalu River directly across from North Korea's Sinuiju. The twin cities are the conduit through which much of North Korea's international trade passes.

China condemned Wednesday's purported test, which sent tremors across parts of northeastern China near the North Korean border and alarmed residents.

"I think it is a threat and sabotage to China and to the world peace for such a country to own nuclear weapons," Dandong resident Tian Zhibin said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

Analysts say Beijing will likely join other members of the UN Security Council in imposing tougher economic sanctions on its communist ally.

Beijing could also introduce unilateral measures such as tighter inspections of the trucks that cross the Yalu carrying mostly consumer goods bound for the North. China-North Korean economic projects could be suspended and Chinese companies and banks discouraged from doing business with North Korea.

Yet as North Korea's neighbour and chief backer, Beijing is unlikely to takes steps that might seriously undermine Kim Jong Un's hard-line communist regime. Apart from a traditional friendship dating back decades, China is fearful of a collapse that could bring chaos, sending refugees across the border and possibly leading to a U.S. military presence in the North.

Although willing to notch up sanctions, Beijing likely won't reduce energy and food assistance or impose overly harsh economic sanctions, said Bonnie Glaser, an expert on China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank .

"Economic relations and nuclear issues are likely to remain on two separate tracks," Glaser said.

Despite the ups and downs in relations, China continues to have a vested interest in maintaining friendly ties with Pyongyang. Apart from providing material assistance, that includes defending North Korea from condemnation at the United Nations over its human rights abuses and designating refugees from the North as economic migrants rather than asylum seekers.

For Beijing, the North Korea issue is not simply one of nuclear proliferation, but also of peninsular stability, the balance of power in Northeast Asia and its growing rivalry with the United States, said Jingdong Yuan, an Asia-Pacific security expert at Australia's University of Sydney.

"Rather to live with a bad situation than to leave it completely to chance and lose all control," Yuan said.

But even with that sense of resignation, China still needs to consider increasingly negative public opinion toward Pyongyang, analysts say.

The state-run China Daily said in an English-language commentary that, if proven, Pyongyang's actions were "irresponsible and reckless."

The nationalist tabloid Global Times emphasized the danger to social stability in northeastern China, which lies as close as 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the test site. Schools and office buildings were evacuated after residents were shaken by the magnitude 4.8 earthquake caused by the detonation. Technicians were also monitoring the air for signs of contamination.

"Pyongyang must consider the long-term negative impact on Beijing-Pyongyang ties and its own development," the Global Times said.

While China's total control over the media and public discourse allows it to squash such opinions at any time, in this case "a bit of strategic stirring by the Chinese Communist Party of limited public resentment at North Korea seems to make sense," said Adam Cathcart, a specialist in China-North Korea relations at Britain's University of Leeds.

That's especially true when the issue involves environmental damage or the threat of radiation along the border, Cathcart said.

"Call it the Fukushima effect," he said, a reference to fear and outrage in China over Japan's 2011 nuclear crisis.

-----

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Vancouver-area peak named for deceased search and rescue volunteer

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - A mountain peak on British Columbia's North Shore is being named in honour of a long-time leader in the province's search and rescue community. Premier Christy Clark has announced a 1,425-metre peak northeast of North Vancouver will be called Tim Jones Peak. Source
  • Canadian caught with nearly 60 kilos of cocaine sentenced to 10 years in U.S.

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 37-year-old Canadian who was caught with 59 kilos of cocaine has been sentenced to 10 years in jail in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The U.S. Department of Justice said Friday that Martin Briand, who is also a French citizen, was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute cocaine after the cocaine was seized in December 2009. Source
  • Women's March on Washington about much more than Trump

    World News CTV News
    Hundreds of thousands of women plan to march through the streets of the U.S. capital on President Donald Trump’s first full day in office, to send a bold message to the new administration: women’s rights are human rights, and the divisive tone of the campaign will not be tolerated in the nation’s highest office. Source
  • Canada's last Armenian genocide survivor dies at age 107

    Canada News CTV News
    A Montreal woman believed to have been the last Canadian to have survived the Armenian genocide died on Thursday, just weeks shy of her 108th birthday. Born in 1909, Knar Bohjelian Yemenidjian was only six years old in 1915 when the Ottoman Turks began their massacre. Source
  • Trudeau congratulates Trump, citing 'robust' trade and security ties [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Boost defence spending, dial down the volume on battling climate change and find a bridge or energy project to build together. That was the expert advice Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received Friday on how to get along with new U.S. Source
  • New White House look: Trump gives the Oval Office a makeover

    World News CTV News
    Promises, pomp, protests as Donald Trump sworn in Latest updates: Trumps dance to 'My Way' at inaugural ball Source
  • Clinton-backing NY scalper stuck with Trump inauguration tickets

    World News CTV News
    A New York ticket scalper should have read Trump: The Art of The Deal before attempting to flip a pricey pair of tickets to Friday’s Inauguration Ceremonies in the U.S. Capitol -- especially the passage about knowing your market. Source
  • Trump executive order first strike at killing Obamacare

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- In an opening salvo against Obamacare, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday night that appears aimed squarely at the undoing the health care law's unpopular requirement that individuals carry insurance or face fines. Source
  • Allegedly drugged driver hits cop car, overdoses: Vancouver police

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Police in Vancouver are investigating a crash involving a cruiser and a driver who was allegedly under the influence of opioids. Officers say in a news release that a marked police car was stopped in the Downtown Eastside early Friday morning when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck. Source
  • Trudeau holds call with premiers to reassure them over Canada-U.S. relationship

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with his provincial and territorial counterparts today in an effort to reassure them about Canada's economic and security relationship with the United States. Trudeau spoke about a number of issues, "in particular," said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office, "the importance of the Canada-U.S. Source