Beijing’s rebuff made Kim cut China trip short

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Beijing’s rebuff made Kim cut China trip short

BEIJING - China told North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during his recent visit that it will respect international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang and refused to provide extraordinary economic assistance, an informed source here told the JoongAng Ilbo.

According to the source, the Chinese government’s position prompted Kim to cut short his stay in China.

“At the luncheon between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Kim on May 6, the Chinese government informed the North that China will not provide aid outside the framework of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang,” the source said.

“After Beijing’s position was explained, Kim shortened his schedule in China.”

Kim’s trip in China lasted from May 2 to 7. Although sources said Kim was to attend the North Korean Pibada Opera Company’s performance of “A Dream of Red Mansions” with Chinese leaders on the evening of May 6, he canceled at the last minute and rushed home.

One month after North Korea’s second nuclear test in May 2009, UN Security Council members unanimously adopted Resolution 1874, approving sanctions on North Korea.

In addition to a trade embargo on weapons and financial restrictions, the resolution called for inspection of ships suspected of carrying banned arms and related materials. China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, also condemned the North for its nuclear test and approved the sanctions.

The sanctions ban any support to the North except for humanitarian aid, and the reclusive communist nation’s fragile economy has been hit severely by a food crisis and failed currency reform.

Kim was believed to have sought extraordinary support from China during his trip.

Despite the sanctions, China promised North Korea about $30 million worth of assistance when Premier Wen visited Pyongyang in October 2009, alarming Seoul that Beijing may not be fully committed to the resolution. The latest decision by China to reject Kim’s request, however, appeared to show growing frustration in Beijing over escalated tension on the peninsula.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun also published yesterday a similar report, quoting a South Korean government official.

The newspaper said Kim had shortened his itinerary by one day as an expression of displeasure.

“There is a possibility that China had raised the issues of Kim’s successor and policies of opening up the country and reform,” the source was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Then, Kim could have felt discontent.”

Observers here said Kim’s recent trip to China appeared to be a failure and North Korea must do more - internationally and domestically - to win China’s assistance.

“At least, both the sides seem quite stymied, and the visit highlights a distinctive rift between Beijing and Pyongyang,” Zhu Feng, professor at the Peking University’s School of International Studies and deputy director of Center for International and Strategic Studies at the university, wrote recently for the Asia Security Initiative of the MacArthur Foundation.

“Kim is very economically motivated to see the Chinese open their wallet,” he said. At the end of the day, he said, China didn’t defer to North Korea for the sake of it returning to six-party talks on the shutting of its nuclear weapons program. “Unfortunately, the standoff will continue,” he said.

By Chang Se-jeong, Ser Myo-ja []
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방중 기간 오찬 때 “안보리 제재 틀 넘어 대북 원조는 못 한다” 통보

김정일 북한 국방위원장의 방중(3~7일) 기간에 중국 원자바오(溫家寶) 총리가 ‘유엔 안전보장이사회의 대북 제재를 넘는 대북 원조 불가’ 입장을 김 위원장에게 전달했던 것으로 알려졌다. 이 때문에 김 위원장은 당초 중국 지도부와 함께하려던 북한 피바다 가극단의 ‘홍루몽(紅樓夢)’ 공연 관람 일정을 막판에 취소하고 일정을 단축한 채 서둘러 귀국했다는 것이다.

베이징(北京)의 한 소식통은 16일 “원 총리가 6일 댜오위타이(釣魚臺) 국빈관에서 열린 김 위원장과의 오찬 회동에서 ‘중국은 유엔 안보리의 대북 제재 틀 이상의 원조를 대 줄 수 없다’고 말했다”고 전했다. 이 소식통은 “(유엔 제재를 내세운) 중국의 완고한 입장이 전달되면서 김 위원장의 방중 일정이 예정보다 짧아졌던 것으로 안다”고 덧붙였다.

유엔 안보리는 북한의 2차 핵실험(2009년 5월) 한 달 뒤인 지난해 6월 만장일치로 1874호 대북 제재 결의안을 채택했었다. 당시 한국과 미국 주도로 추진된 이 결의안은 북한에 대한 화물 검색, 무기 금수 및 수출 통제, 금융·경제 제재를 담고 있다.

특히 유엔 안보리 상임이사국인 중국도 북한의 핵실험을 비판하며 이 결의안에 찬성표를 던졌었다. 유엔의 대북 제재와 화폐개혁 실패로 식량난과 경제난이 가중된 북한은 김 위원장의 이번 방중 기간에 중국의 파격적인 지원을 기대했으나 중국이 유엔 제재를 내세우는 바람에 소기의 성과를 얻지 못했다는 게 이 베이징 소식통의 분석이다.

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