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

  • Man seen in photos now 'main suspect' in Indiana double homicide

    World News Toronto Sun
    DELPHI, Ind. — A man photographed walking along a northern Indiana trail system around the time two teenage girls later found slain were dropped off by a relative is now considered “the main suspect” in their killings, State Police said Sunday. Source
  • Father of teen drug user urges parents to band together to save lives

    Canada News CTV News
    As an Ottawa-area family laid their 14-year-old daughter to rest Sunday following an apparent overdose, a local father is speaking up about his own teenage daughter’s struggle with drugs in the hope of saving lives. Source
  • Colorado town getting weed shop with drive-through window

    World News CTV News
    PARACHUTE, Colo. - The western Colorado town of Parachute is getting a drive-through marijuana shop believed to be the first in the state. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Saturday the Parachute Board of Trustees approved a business license for Tumbleweed Express last week. Source
  • Edmonton police issue ticket for wearing a ferret while driving

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 24-hour traffic enforcement event by Edmonton police resulted in 2,442 violations, including a distracted driving ticket for a motorist wearing a live ferret around their neck while cruising along Whyte Avenue. Police issued 90 additional distracted driving tickets during the enforcement period from Feb. Source
  • Douglas Garland back in jail after inmate beating

    Canada News CBC News
    Douglas Garland is back behind bars, having been released from hospital after suffering a beating by fellow inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre late Friday night. Just hours after Garland, 57, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 75 years for the first-degree murders of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O'Brien, he was attacked by multiple inmates, suffering what EMS described as soft-tissue injuries. Source
  • Adolf Hitler's phone sold for US$243,000

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, MD. - A Maryland auction house is selling Adolf Hitler’s personal travelling telephone. Bill Panagopulos of Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City says occupying Russian officers gave the phone to Brig. Sir Ralph Rayner during a visit to Hitler’s Berlin bunker. Source
  • Telephone owned by Adolf Hitler sells for $243,000

    World News CTV News
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md. - A telephone owned by Adolf Hitler has sold at auction for $243,000. Andreas Kornfeld of Alexander Historical Auctions says the phone sold Sunday afternoon to a person who bid by phone. Source
  • 'More of the same or change': Ecuador voters head to polls in presidential election

    World News CBC News
    Ecuadoreans are choosing Sunday between a candidate who vows to continue President Rafael Correa's populist platform or one of several more conservative contenders who pledge to attack corruption and cut taxes to stimulate the Andean nation's flagging economy. Source
  • Bomb explodes by Colombia bull ring, injuring 26

    World News CTV News
    BOGOTA -- A homemade bomb exploded near Bogota's bullring on Sunday, injuring two dozen police officers and two civilians, Colombian authorities said. The explosive device, which shattered windows in nearby apartment buildings, appeared to have been left in a sewer outside a new youth hostel popular with foreign backpackers. Source
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security seeks to aggressively detain immigrants

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly. Source