N Korea uneasy as China cements ties with south
Saturday 22 August 1992
Although the South Korean Foreign Ministry has refused to confirm or deny reports that normalisation is imminent, an official said a statement would be issued today. South Korean state radio announced yesterday that Lee Sang Ock, the Foreign Minister, will travel to Peking tomorrow for a three-day visit. Mr Lee is expected to conclude the normalisation agreement, and possibly also set a date for a state visit to China by South Korea's President, Roh Tae Woo.
The most immediate loser will be Taiwan. South Korea is the only Asian country which still has diplomatic links with Taipei, but these links will be severed at Peking's insistence before relations are opened between South Korea and China. This will leave Taiwan with only one major diplomatic ally - South Africa, which has warming relations with Peking - and a handful of smaller African and Latin American countries.
But in the longer term the consequences will be felt more severely by North Korea. China is the last significant ally of the secretive Communist state, and although Peking will not cut relations with Pyongyang, its opening to North Korea's capitalist foe in the south will come as a blow to the country's ideal of Communist solidarity around the world. Moscow established relations with South Korea in 1990, and an enraged North Korea recalled its ambassador from the Russian capital as a temporary protest.
For years North Korea has relied on Chinese patronage to prop up its ailing centralised economy. But as the economic reform movement strengthened its grip in China, the Chinese government has shown more interest in trade with South Korea. China and South Korea set up trade offices in each other's capitals last year, and diplomats said then it was only a matter of time before full diplomatic ties were established.
China has been showing impatience with the fanatical regime of Kim Il Sung. Last year it was the Chinese who persuaded North Korea to join the United Nations at the same time as South Korea, despite strong resistance from Pyongyang against such an international acknowledgement of legitimacy for Seoul. The Chinese have also been increasingly reluctant to give North Korea food and energy assistance.
The principal motive for China in drawing closer to South Korea is economic. MPs in Taipei say South Korea has promised US dollars 2bn ( pounds 1.036bn) loans to China. For South Korea, the benefits will be in the increased diplomatic leverage it can apply to Pyongyang in talks to have North Korea come clean on its nuclear weapons capability and ultimately to reunify the Korean peninsula.
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamaphobia
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...