Media Analysis: China Ties with North Korea Undiminished

Beijing's policies toward North Korea are not the province of China's foreign ministry, but are formulated by the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party leadership. This was in full display last week (September 17-18) with the visit of the party's foreign policy czar, Dai Bingguo and a delegation of senior Party foreign affairs officials from the "Central Foreign Affairs Work Leadership Small Group" the Party's "International Liaison Department" and a Chinese vice foreign minister. Dai, who made his career in the Party's international liaison work (not the foreign ministry), manages China's day-to-day foreign affairs work for the Politburo as the director of the "Small Group" office. He also has the senior government title of "state councilor"

Last week, Dai Bingguo flew to Pyongyang as the "Special Emissary" of Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao. According to the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper People's Daily on Saturday, September 19, Dai reassured his Pyongyang counterparts, and North Koeran "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il, that Beijing will stand by their side through thick and thin. This resulted in foreign media reports from Beijing which interpreted Kim's remarks to Dai as "hinting" that the North is now ready to return to nuclear talks. But that is not exactly what Kim said. Kim simply observed that North Korea "wished to resolve the relevant issues" via dialogue – either bilaterally or multilaterally. The context of Kim's statement suggests that North Korea considers its "bilateral" interlocutor to be the United States – and the term "multilateral" most likely refers to having China as a participant in talks with the U.S. Nothing Kim or any other North Korean said, indicates that Pyongyang is inclined to accept South Korea and/or Japan as legitimate multilateral partners in such a "dialogue".

But the surprising aspect of Dai's visit was the continued fulsome praise for Beijing-Pyongyang ties and the total absence of any hint of tension between the two sides over North Korea's nuclear ambitions. A gloss of the People's Daily reporting on Dai's visit to Pyongyang highlights standard propaganda rhetoric of “unbreakable” ties forged by that "Greatest Generation" of Chinese and North Korean leaders which includes Mao Zedong and Kim's father, Kim Il Sung.

The People's Daily lip-service to “denuclearization” was embedded in a context of “peace and stability” on the Korean peninsula, a context consistent with North Korean demands that the United States give up its nuclear weapons – and compromise its alliances with Japan and the ROK – if the peninsula is to be truly “denuclearized”.

Nor was there any hint, so eagerly sought by Washington, that Beijing might be prepared to ratchet up economic pressures if Pyongyang doesn't behave itself in the nuclear arena. Far from it. China's vice minister of commerce was a prominent player in Dai's meetings with Kim and other North Korean officials. Indeed, Dai Bingguo emphasized that Beijing-Pyongyang ties would continue and deepen (!) in “economic, commercial, cultural . . . and other areas”. The term "other areas" likely refers to military, intelligence and scientific cooperation.

Finally, a major sign that Kim was pleased with the visit of a senior emissary from his Chinese party and military counterpart came as Kim went out of his way to praise Hu Jintao’s pet theories of “Scientific Development” and “Harmonious Society.” Clearly Kim is comfortable with Hu Jintao's policies.
090919 MNUC PROP PREL – RMRB – Hu Jintao Sends Letter to NKorea Kim Jong Il; expresses CCP-GPRC Values Ties; Will always see KPA as Friend; Two Peoples, Nations are Valued Treasure

Hu Jintao Sends Letter to NKorea Kim Jong Il; In letter, Hu Jintao expresses China's Party and Government Place High Value on PRC-DPRK Ties; Will always see China-Korea friendship as the precious heritage of the two nations and their peoples. Kim Jong Il sees Dai Bingguo

《 人民日报 》( 2009年9月19日 03 版)
本报平壤9月18日电 (记者周之然)朝鲜劳动党总书记、国防委员会委员长金正日18日在平壤会见了中国国家主席胡锦涛特使、国务委员戴秉国。Pyongyang, Sept 18 (Zhou Zhiran reports) The Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong Il, met with Chinese State Chairman Hu Jintao's special envoy, State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

Dai Bingguo transmitted Chairman Hu Jintao's letter to Kim Jong Il. In the letter, Hu Jintao said that the Chinese Party and government highly value Sino-Korean relations, and from beginning to end will always consolidate and develop friendly relations between China and Korea on the basis of a spirit of "inherited legacy, facing the future, neighborly friendship and strengthened cooperation."

戴秉国转交了胡锦涛主席致金正日的信函。胡锦涛在信中表示,中国党和政府高度重视中朝关系,始终把中朝友谊视为两党、两国和两国人民的宝贵财富,本着 “继承传统、面向未来、睦邻友好、加强合作”的精神,巩固和发展中朝友好关系。胡锦涛表示,作为半岛的近邻,中方高度关注半岛局势,实现半岛无核化目标,维护和促进半岛及东北亚的和平、稳定与发展,是我们的一贯宗旨。我们愿同朝方共同为此作出不懈努力。Hu Jintao said, that as a neighbor of the peninsula, the Chinese side pays very close attention to the peninsula situation, and the achievement of the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula, maintaining and promoting peninsular and Northeast Asian peace, stability and development has been our consistent guiding principle. We want to make unstinting efforts together with the Korean side toward these ends.

  金正日感谢胡锦涛主席派特使访朝,并带来亲署信,请戴秉国转达他对胡锦涛主席的亲切问候和良好祝愿。金正日表示,中华人民共和国成立60年来,取得了伟大的发展成就,朝鲜党和人民为此感到自豪,衷心祝愿中国共产党领导中国人民,在落实科学发展观、构建和谐社会的事业中取得新的更大成就。朝方将继续坚定支持中方维护国家主权和安全的努力。Kim Jong Il thanked Chairman Hu Jintao for sending his special emissary who even brought a personal letter, and asked Dai Bingguo to pass on to Chairman Hu Jintao his personal regards and best wishes. Kim Jong Il said, in the 60 years since its founding the People's Republic of China has achieved great accomplishments in development, and in the process of carrying out the guideline of Scientific Development and building a harmonious society has achieved new and even greater accomplishments. The Korean side will continue to positively support the Chinese side's efforts in maintaining national sovereignty and security.

  金正日说,朝中传统友谊是两国老一辈领导人亲手缔造的,牢不可破。朝中关系经受住了各种考验,始终沿着正确轨道向前发展。朝鲜党、政府和人民有意愿和决心继承和发扬朝中传统友谊,希望以两国建交60周年和朝中友好年为新的起点,加强两国高层交往及各领域合作,推动朝中友好关系不断向前发展。Kim Jong Il said the traditional friendship between Korea and China is the particular personal creation of the older generation of leaders of both nations, it is unbreakable. Korean-Chinese relations have withstood all manner of trials, but have always developed apace along the correct road. The Korean Party and Government and People have the desire and determination to inherit and cultivate the traditional friendship between Korea and China, and hope that, with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations as a new starting point, the strengthening of high level exchanges and cooperation in all areas of endeavor, will promote the unceasing forward development of Korea-China relations.

  金正日阐述了朝方对朝鲜半岛局势及朝核问题的立场,表示朝方将继续坚持无核化目标,致力于维护半岛和平稳定,愿通过双边及多边对话解决有关问题。Kim Jong Il described the Korean side's position on the situation in the Korean peninsula and the Korean nuclear issue, and said that the Korean side will continue to adhere to the goal of denuclearization, and will exert efforts to maintain peninsular peace and stability, and wishes to resolve relevant issues through dialogue between the two sides, and among many sides.

  戴秉国祝愿朝鲜在以金正日总书记为首的劳动党领导下,国家建设取得新成就。戴秉国表示,在两国几代领导人的亲自关心下,经过两国人民的共同努力,朝中传统友谊不断发展。中方愿同朝方继续共同努力,保持高层交往,深化经贸 deepen economic and commerce ties、人文等各领域交流合作,使中朝传统友好合作关系与时俱进,不断发扬光大。Dai Bingguo heartily expected Korea under the leadership of the KPA with Kim Jong Il as its leader to make new achievements in national construction. Dai Bingguo said that under the personal attention and care of several generations of leading people of both nations, and through the common effort of the people's of both countries, the traditional friendship between Korea and China will ceaselessly develop. The Chinese side wishes to deepen exchange cooperation in economic, commercial, cultural, and other areas through the continued common effort and the maintainence of high level interaction.

  戴秉国表示,中方愿同包括朝方在内的有关各方共同努力,推动半岛无核化进程继续向前迈进。Dai Bingguo said that the Chinese side wishes to promote the continued forward progress of denuclearization of the peninsula through the common efforts of all relevant countries including the Korean side.

  中国驻朝鲜大使刘晓明和中国外交部副部长武大伟,中国商务部副部长傅自应,中央外事工作领导小组办公室副主任裘援平,中联部部长助理郭业洲参加了会见。China's ambassador in Korea, Liu Xiaoming and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, China's vice minister of commerce, Fu Ziying, Deputy Director of the Office of the Central Working Leadership Small Group on Foreign Affairs, Qiu Yuanping, and the Assistant Minister of the Central International Liaison Department Guo Yezhou, participated in the meeting.



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