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.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun suggested Kim 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.”
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 North Korea except for humanitarian aid, and the reclusive communist nation’s fragile economy has been hit severely by a food crisis and failed currency reform.
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.
“Kim is very economically motivated to see the Chinese open their wallet,” Zhu Feng, professor at the Peking University’s School of International Studies 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.