North Korean Nuclear Issue in China-U.S. Relations
Since the North Korean nuclear issue emerged in the early 1990s, it has been of growing importance to China-U.S. relations. On the one hand, China and the United States basically take the same position on the issue: They both call for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and oppose the development of nuclear weapons by the two Koreas; and they advocate peaceful settlement of the issue through the Six-Party Talks, because it will determine the prospects for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as well as the peace and security of Northeast Asia.However, on the other hand, as major global powers, China and the United States play different roles in the security pattern of the peninsula, which means they have different relations with the two Koreas as well as disagreement on how to peacefully settle the nuclear issue.
How to consolidate the common ground and shared interests on the issue between China and the United States, how to promote their cooperation in the denuclearization of the peninsula and how to reduce mutual suspicions and disagreement on issues that are major concerns for both will not only contribute to a nuclear-free peninsula with lasting peace and stability, but also have a profound impact on the new model of major-country relations between China and the United States.
Basic Policies of China and the United States on the North Korean Nuclear Issue
Due to the Korean War and the lasting influence of the Cold War, China and the United States have entirely different bilateral relations with North Korea, but they share similar positions on the denuclearization of the peninsula and similar concerns.
Throughout the Cold War, China and the United States provided large quantities of military aid to their respective allies, namely South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea (ROK), in the case of the United States and North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in the case of China, but neither offered aid that could generate nuclear or missile proliferation. After South Korea’s secret development of nuclear weapons was revealed in the 1970s, the U.S. government carried out direct interventions to force South Korea to give up the plan.
After the Cold War, two strategic and historic events significantly altered the security pattern of mutual deterrence between North and South Korea: The first referred to the radical change of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe so that North Korea lost a vital foreign economic aid provider and a strong military supporter; second, China accommodated the trend of the times characterized by the end of the Cold War and a thaw in the relations between the two Koreas; thus it normalized its relations with South Korea, leading to a structural change in the “balance of power” between the China-DPRK alliance and the U.S.-ROK alliance. Therefore, the Cold War between China and South Korea came to an end while the Cold War between the two Koreas continued.
The two aforementioned events marked the end of indirect trilateral military collaboration among North Korea, China and the Soviet Union, while trilateral ties among South Korea, the United States and Japan were strengthened. This change fueled the strategic determination of North Koreato accelerate its nuclear weapons program. The nuclear issue became the security focus of the peninsula as well as a new area where exchange, cooperation and conflicts between China and the United States took place.
China has a consistent and clear position on North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. Whether during or after the Cold War, it has always called for a peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons and opposed any import, deployment or storage of nuclear weapons from abroad by North Korea, as well as the development of nuclear weapons by either Korea. Therefore, although China has been providing extensive and large-scale aid to North Korea since the 1950s, it has never offered aid that might facilitate North Korea’s nuclear weapon development or delivery.
Since the nuclear issue escalated in 1994, China has always made it clear in its bilateral exchange with North Korea that it would firmly oppose North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. China denounced North Korea’s three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and it supported and abided by related resolutions and sanctions imposed on North Korea by the UN Security Council. In September 2013, the relevant government departments in China issued an administrative instruction prohibiting any Chinese enterprises from exporting to North Korea more than 900 civilian-military dual-use or sensitive products, a long list of over 300 pages.
Besides, in China’s view, the North Korean nuclear issue is not a simple matter of nuclear proliferation, but a strategic and comprehensive issue concerning the national security of North Korea. Given that, in the efforts to promote a North Korea free of nuclear weapons, consideration should also be given to North Korea’s security, political, economic and diplomatic concerns.
With this in mind, when the North Korean nuclear crisis broke out for a second time in early 2003, leading to acute tension between North Korea and the United States, China made concerted diplomatic efforts to initiate the Six-Party Talks among North and South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan in August 2003. The talks were held under the theme of “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. China also emphasized that the six parties must ensure the denuclearization of the peninsula rather than just North Korea. The Six-Party Talks aim to promote a nuclear-weapons-free North Korea, and establish an institutional arrangement to ensure neither side of the peninsula tests, produces, accepts, possesses, stores, deploys or uses nuclear weapons. Denuclearization refers to the military denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; both the Koreas still have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the same as other sovereign states.Thanks to the advocacy and mediation by the Chinese delegation, members of the Six-Party Talks emphasized North Korea’s right of peaceful use of nuclear energy in their September 19 Joint Statement.
As for the denuclearization of North Korea, China has maintained a consistent position, namely promoting the Six-Party Talks by focusing on the nuclear issue itself while removing the external impediment, which is the hostile external environment faced by North Korea. Through the talks, China hopes that a package of comprehensive solutions can be agreed upon by the six parties based on the principles and objectives defined by the September 19 Joint Statement, and progress can be made in the normalization of the relations between North Korea and other countries by replacing the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953 with a permanent peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula. China also hopes that a cooperation mechanism for Northeast Asia can be established in which North Korea is treated as an equal member.
Unlike China, whose position has remained consistent, the United States has made complicated adjustments in its fundamental policy toward the North Korean nuclear issue. On the one hand, the Washington upholds the basic policy of a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula; on the other hand, throughout the 20 years of the Clinton administration, the Bush administration and the Obama administration, the United States has adopted three totally different attitudes and policies toward the issue, creating huge uncertainty and wavering.
Sensex tanks 555 points on China rout, closes at 3-week low
The Sensex fell for the fourth consecutive session on Thursday to close at 24,852, down 555 points (2.2%) with all the 30 Sensex stocks in the red. Thanks to the market rout in China,On Thursday morning as the CSI 300 index in Shanghai tanked 7% and Chinese authorities suspended trading for the day, sensex opened more than 1% lower and lost steam through the session to close at a fresh three-week low.
In the process it also broke below the psychologically important 25K mark. Thursday’s was the second 7% fall in the benchmark index for the Chinese stock market this week which came on the back of signs of further economic weakness in the world’s second largest economy.
In India, the Sensex has now lost over 1,300 points since its New Year day closing at 26,161.
On Thursday, the slide in the domestic market was led by BHEL, Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Axis Bank, with each of the stock closing down 5% or more.
China ends one-child policy after 35 years
China has scrapped its one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children for the first time since draconian family planning rules were introduced more than three decades ago.
The announcement followed a four-day Communist party summit in Beijing where China’s top leaders debated financial reforms and how to maintain growth at a time of heightened concerns about the economy.
China will “fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an ageing population”, the party said in a statement published by Xinhua, the official news agency. “The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population,”
Some celebrated the move as a positive step towards greater personal freedom in China. But human rights activists and critics said the loosening – which means the Communist party continues to control the size of Chinese families – did not go far enough.
For months there has been speculation that Beijing was preparing to abandon the divisive family planning rule, which was introduced in 1980 because of fears of a population boom.
Demographers in and outside China have long warned that its low fertility rate – which experts say lies somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 children a woman – was driving the country towards a demographic crisis.
Since 2013, there has been a gradual relaxation of China’s family planning laws that already allowed minority ethnic families and rural couples whose firstborn was a girl to have more than one child. Thursday’s announcement that all couples would be allowed two children caught many experts by surprise.
History showed that countries with a very large number of unmarried men of military age were more likely to pursue aggressive, militarist foreign policy initiatives, Tsang said.
In one of the most shocking recent cases of human rights abuses related to the once-child policy, a woman who was seven months pregnant was abducted by family planning officials in Shaanxi province in 2012 and forced to have an abortion.
Opponents say the policy has created a demographic “timebomb”, with China’s 1.3 billion-strong population ageing rapidly, and the country’s labour pool shrinking. The UN estimates that by 2050 China will have about 440 millionpeople over 60. The working-age population – those between 15 and 59 – fell by 3.71 million last year, a trend that is expected to continue.
Experts said the relaxation of family planning rules is unlikely to have a lasting demographic impact, particularly in urban areas where couples were now reluctant to have two children because of the high cost.
“Just because the government says you can have another child, it doesn’t mean the people will immediately follow,” said Liang Zhongtang, a demographer at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science.
Red alerts for smog issued for 1st time by more Chinese cities
More Chinese cities are issuing their first red alerts for pollution in response to forecasts of heavy smog, after the capital, Beijing, issued two this month following criticism for not releasing them earlier.
Shandong province in eastern China issued alerts in four cities after warning that the density of particulate matter in the air would exceed high levels for more than 24 hours. The Shandong environmental protection bureau said the alerts started Thursday morning and that kindergarten, primary and middle schools should close and construction of buildings and roads, and demolition work, should stop.
China’s air pollution is notorious after three decades of breakneck economic growth. In recent years, the government has said it is trying to address the problem as citizens have become increasingly aware of the dangers.
Meteorological authorities in Hebei, a province which neighbours Beijing and is regarded as China’s most polluted, issued its first red alert for smog on Tuesday. Cities in Hebei took response measures. Xingtai and Handan instigated traffic control measures to take half the vehicles off the road on a given day, according to Hebei’s environmental protection bureau.
The first red alert in the port city of Tianjin, which is also close to Beijing, ended Thursday morning after three days.
Beijing issued its first two red alerts in December under a four-tier warning system that has been in place for two years. It had earlier experienced more hazardous levels of pollution, but environmental authorities said that their forecasting model must predict three or more days of smog at particular levels on the city’s air quality index.
Man Was Forced To Grow Nose on Forehead After Traffic Accident
Chinese surgeons at a hospital in Fuzhou, Fujian grew a new nose on a 22-year-old man’s forehead after an accident left his original one unusable, Reuters reports. Xiaolian had sustained injuries to his original nose after a traffic accident, which led to a severe infection and deformity.
To craft the new appendage, doctors took cartilage from Xiaolian’s ribs and implanted it under skin tissue on his forehead. When finished growing later this month, the nose will be transplanted to its proper place.
In January, British doctors grew a nose on a man’s arm after he lost his original to cancer.