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China Considers Opting out of Military Intervention for N. Korea

China Considers Opting out of Military Intervention for N. Korea

Posted July. 15, 2003 21:44,   


The ‘Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance’ between China and North Korea is being reviewed for amendment, and items related to military assistance are likely to be taken out, Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reported yesterday quoting Chinese diplomatic sources.

The treaty ratified in 1961 states that if one country is militarily attacked, the other is to provide military aid, so if the United States attacks North Korea in a bid to end North Korea’s nuclear threat, China would automatically become involved.

In China, there are growing voices demanding the treaty be amended to remove clauses stipulating military assistance in order to avoid possible international disputes.

At the moment, however, China is unlikely to formally deliver its attention of altering the treaty to North Korea, but rather make gestures to pressure the North to resolve the nuclear crisis issues quickly, the Japanese daily suggested.

This subtle approach is likely because China is looking to play the role of mediator in settling the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, and because China fears that an abrupt modification of the treaty might prompt North Korea to take a tougher stance.

Sankei newspaper, however, reported quoting Korean diplomatic sources that China has already expressed its intention to North Korea to modify the treaty after resolving the nuclear crisis, and also conveyed its intentions to the South Korean government during the recent ROK-China summit.

In the meantime, Woo Dung-heo, Chinese Ambassador to North Korea, commemorated the 42nd anniversary of the treaty in Pyongyang on Friday, saying, “The friendship between the two countries will doubtless progress, keeping pace with the times,” the Xinhua news agency reported.

“This signifies China’s intention to amend the treaty in a constructive direction, while recognizing the significant of historical value of it,” the Mainichi newspaper reported quoting sources from China.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com