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NK Seeks Revision of 1961 Defense Treaty With China

Posted March. 04, 2010 08:46,   


North Korea is known to have proposed to China the revision of a bilateral cooperation treaty in talks on a breakthrough in international sanctions following Pyongyang’s nuclear test in May last year.

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in October last year, China’s official Xinhua News Agency did not say whether they discussed the revision of a clause in the treaty guaranteeing China`s automatic intervention in the event of a security threat in North Korea.

An informed source on North Korea based in Beijing said yesterday, however, that the proposed revision was on the agenda at the Wen-Kim meeting, adding the matter will likely be discussed when Kim visits Beijing.

The treaty plays a key role in buttressing the military alliance between Pyongyang and Beijing.

The DPRK-China Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance was signed in July 1961 and remains valid unless one side agrees to a revision or abolishment.

A clause guarantees automatic intervention if one of the signatories is attacked by a country or allied countries.

The source said Pyongyang proposed to Beijing that the clause be changed so that one side can militarily intervene in the other’s war or in other ways upon request.

North Korea might also be seeking the revision out of fear that China could intervene if a situation occurs in North Korea regardless of Pyongyang’s will.

The source said Pyongyang believes Chinese support is necessary for a stable father-to-son power succession in North Korea, but that it also needs to keep in check Beijing’s “unnecessary expansion of its influence.”

North Korea experts say the communist country considers its ties with China a “blood alliance,” but Pyongyang is cautious over Beijing’s increased influence due to Chinese economic assistance to the impoverished country.