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China announced last night that Kim Jong-Il has no plans to conduct a second nuclear test, attempting to assuage fears in the global community of further provocations by the unpredictable dictator. The foreign ministry also clarified earlier reports of an apology from Kim, saying that Pyongyang had not apologized but wants to return to the six-party talks:
China gave its first full public account Tuesday of its recent diplomatic mission to North Korea. An official said leader Kim Jong Il did not apologize for the atomic explosion, but he did say there were no plans for a second nuclear test.
North Korea's reclusive leader expressed willingness to return to six-nation talks over his government's nuclear program if financial restrictions levied by the United States are first resolved, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with Kim last week during a trip to Pyongyang with China's top nuclear envoy and vice foreign minister.
Tang was told during meetings with Kim and other officials that North Korea has no plans to carry out a second nuclear test, Liu said. "But if it faces pressure, North Korea reserves the right to take further actions," he added, citing Tang.
Liu said Kim did not apologize for his regime's nuclear test Oct. 9, as some South Korean media had reported. "These reports are certainly not accurate," he said.
The Chinese have put themselves far out on the limb with this statement. They had not thought Kim would test his nukes without their assent, but he did, and he embarrassed Beijing immensely. If he turns around and conducts another test after this announcement by China, their influence will appear completely illusory and their plans to project strength through the region will seem hopeless. If Kim tests again, then they will have to take action against Kim to save face.
They have certainly hedged their bet this time. Beijing repeated Kim's claim that the only thing keeping them from the multilateral talks are the sanctions imposed by the US on their access to the banking system. The Chinese obviously want an out if Kim proves recalcitrant. The US is not likely to give on this point; after all, the sanctions got imposed because Kim operated a massive counterfeiting operation and used the Macau bank in question as his fence. Beijing knows Washington will not allow Kim to continue this operation, and so have allowed Kim to establish this ridiculous condition on further talks.
Regardless, the statement will still stick to China, and they know it. Kim knows it as well. If he sets off another nuke, regardless of the pretense involved, he will have made the Chinese look like idiots -- and probably for the last time.Sphere It View blog reactions
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China: North Korea Won't Test Again China announced last night that Kim Jong-Il has no plans to conduct a second nuclear test, attempting to assuage fears in the global community of further provocations by the unpredictable dictator. The foreign ministry [Read More]
Tracked on October 25, 2006 12:10 PM
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