The United Nations Security Council agreed Friday to limit sanctions against North Korea after pressure from China and Russia. Experts Ming Wan and Michael Green discuss the U.N. resolution and China's connection to the isolated Kim Jong Il government.
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Since Monday, when North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a nuclear weapon, the focus has been on China. Would the long-time North Korean ally support the tough resolution called for by the U.S. and Japan?
On North Korea, Iran or Sudan, China has been opposed to U.N. resolutions that could open the way to military force or sanctions China says are too punitive. China's U.N. representative was cautious when advocating his country's position.
WANG GUANGYA, U.N. Ambassador, China:
I think that there are common objectives unifying all council members, that we should send a strong, clear message. But there are some differences in which way the language would be effective, especially in terms of providing more rooms for diplomatic efforts.
The Bush administration has tried to convince the Chinese, who have a veto at the U.N. Security Council, that the danger to them is clear and that China should not tolerate North Korea's actions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. Secretary of State: I think the Chinese clearly understand the gravity of the situation. They clearly understand that the North Koreans, in doing this, have made the environment much less stable and much less secure.
China, a participant in the six-party nuclear talks, has been allied with North Korea since the first days of the Cold War. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, was welcomed in Beijing just last January. And China's relations with South Korea have been improving, even as the current government in Seoul tries to better ties with the North.
Today, the Chinese president hosted Roh Moo-hyun, the president of South Korea. The two countries agreed to take what the South Koreans called "necessary and appropriate actions" against North Korea.
For more on this, we get two views. Michael Green was senior director for Asian affairs on President Bush's National Security Council staff in 2004 and 2005. He's now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and also teaches at Georgetown University.
Ming Wan is associate professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University. He was born in Beijing and is now a U.S. citizen.