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China Promises North Korea $2 Billion

Posted October. 31, 2005 03:01,   


On October 30, Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper quoted Japan’s Kyodo News yesterday in saying that China expressed its willingness to provide North Korea $2 billion in long-term economic aid to help the North’s economic recovery.

Some in Beijing’s diplomatic circle suspect that North Korea’s Kim Jong Il might have told Chinese President Hu Jintao who will succeed him as North Korean leader. President Hu visited North Korea for three days starting October 28.

Why Does China Want to Give North Korea $2 Billion? –

According to the Hong Kong newspaper, China’s aid will be aimed at reviving North Korea’s heavy industry, and the sum is the largest after North Korea-China relations became strained due to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between South Korea and China.

In Beijing, journalists think that the North Korea-China Agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation, whose signing on October 28 coincided with President Hu’s arrival in Pyongyang, may include a provision for the aid.

The Hong Kong daily reported that China plans to take the lead in ensuring security in the region as the host of the six-party talks and, at the same time, to secure natural resources supplies from North Korea for the sake of its economic growth. The paper observed that to achieve these two goals, China wants to stabilize North Korea and ease tensions caused by the nuclear crisis by expanding its investment in and financial assistance to Pyongyang.

“The stronger alliance between the U.S. and Japan increases the ‘strategic value’ of North Korea. And to China, the stability of the North Korean regime is ever more important. This is why China decided to extend financial help to the North,” according to a source in Beijing. “More economic hardships in North Korea leave more people with no other option but to escape their own country. This puts China deeper into diplomatic trouble. The Chinese leadership must have considered this, too.”

What Are the Chances Kim Jong Il Introduced His Successor to Hu Jintao? –

The last visit to Pyongyang by China’s highest politician was 49 months ago. Some experts believe that Kim Jong Il might have taken the opportunity to give some hints about North Korea’s next-generation political leadership.

“Recently, there are signs related to ‘post-Kim Jong Il leadership.’ Given that fact, Chairman Kim might have explained to President Hu about what will happen in North Korea’s politics in the future. In the past, Kim Il Sung introduced Kim Jong Il to the then Chinese president as his successor to gauge China’s response. History could be repeating itself,” said one Beijing-based expert.

People speculate that Kim Jong Chol (24), Kim Jong Il’s second son, is a more likely candidate for North Korea’s top post than Kim Jong Nam (34), Kim Jong Il’s eldest son and Jong Chol’s half brother. Kim Jong Nam was caught attempting to enter Japan with a forged passport, and it is known that since 2002, they have been idolizing Koh Yong Hee (Kim Jong Chol’s mother), who died in a car accident last year.

Yoo-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com