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

  • Fugitive lawyer says he's fled the U.S. using fake passport

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A fugitive Kentucky lawyer at the centre of a nearly $600 million Social Security fraud case has fled the country using a fake passport and has gotten help from someone overseas with a job to help support himself. Source
  • Pride flag found burned in Taber, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    For the second time in as many weeks, a Pride flag flying in Taber, Alta., has been destroyed by vandals. Sometime on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone burned the flag being flown in Confederation Park, near the town hall. Source
  • 'Your actual place in society': Minority Montrealers stung by racial divide at Fête nationale parade

    Canada News CBC News
    When Félix Brouillet saw the first float in Saturday's Fête nationale parade in Montreal, he thought he was looking at a scene out of a 1960s movie about ancient Rome. A white woman in a flowing blue dress stood on the float, which was pushed down St. Source
  • Pride group in Taber, Alta. says their flag was burned

    Canada News CTV News
    TABER, Alta. -- Organizers of a southern Alberta town's first Pride event say they'll raise a third rainbow flag after the first was stolen and the one they replaced it with was burned. Jillian Demontigny of the Taber Equality Alliance says her group was notified Sunday that a police officer noticed damage to the flag and scorch marks up the flagpole while driving past Confederation Park. Source
  • Turkish police fire tear gas on banned LGBT Pride March [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ISTANBUL — As Pride Parade activities across North America have been met by protesters arguing about inclusiveness, other places around the world struggle for the right to even hold marches. Turkish police stopped activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights from gathering in large numbers for an LGBT pride event in Istanbul on Sunday, but smaller groups made impromptu press statements defying a ban imposed by the governor. Source
  • 'I couldn't let that little girl die'; Teen dangling from Six Flags' 'Sky Ride' falls into arms of crowd [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 metres) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground. Source
  • 'We saw bodies everywhere'; Oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153 people [Photos] [Video

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan — An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, a hospital official said as the death toll continued to rise. Source
  • Thank you note from Trump is 'memorabilia' for N.L. political watcher

    Canada News CTV News
    BAULINE, N.L. -- In a world of political cynicism and voter apathy, Doug Kavanagh is the ultimate engaged citizen. And now his growing collection of correspondence with leaders and news editors across Canada and the world has another addition: a thank-you note from U.S. Source
  • Black Lives Matter NYC 'inspired' by Toronto chapter's calls for removal of uniformed police

    World News CBC News
    Inspired by Black Lives Matter Toronto's demonstration at the Toronto Pride Parade last year, members of the activist group in New York City are now calling on the removal of uniformed police officers from their city's parade. Source
  • Police operation unfolds in Moncton, N.B. following report of gunshots

    Canada News CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Police in New Brunswick have arrested two people in connection with a shooting incident in downtown Moncton on Sunday. Sgt. Andre Pepin of the Codiac RCMP said a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman are in custody following an hours-long police operation. Source