Home Asia China Extends Hand to North Korea, Defies International Norms Yet Again

China Extends Hand to North Korea, Defies International Norms Yet Again

On 11th July, China and North Korea celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Defense Treaty they had signed. The leaders from both the countries exchanged pleasantries and expressed their mutual desires to strengthen the relationship. 

The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed how their relationship was vital especially in the current scenario when the western countries had turned hostile. Reuters reported that Pyongyang appreciated the mutual trust and friendship that the two countries shared. The Chinese President Xi Jinping responded by saying that the intention was to improve the strategic communication to attain mutually beneficial goals and mentioned economic aspects specifically.

 This holds even more relevance in the current scenario when the western powers and specially the United States have attempted to initiate a process of negotiations with North Korea. The US has been generally critical of the Chinese behaviour in terms of upholding the international norms. There have been concerns voiced about the Chinese disregard for the rules and regulations governing the international politics. 

The growing affinity between the China and North Korea is a concern for several reasons. North Korea has defied many international norms in the past and support from China is problematic for the western world. North Korea is under serious scrutiny by many countries and international organisations for continuing to develop their nuclear weapons despite warnings. 

South China Morning Post reported the treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assisstance signed by Beijing and Pyongyang in 1961. According to it, the two countries have an obligation to offer military assistance to each other in times of an attack. The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently emphasised its relevance by re-instating the validity of the treaty even today. China also accounts for almost 90% of the trade with North Korea. 

As stated by both the leaders, their partnership is directed at the “foreign hostility”. Realising the role of China in the situation, the American envoy to North Korea spoke to the Chinese counterpart last week to look for a possible breakthrough. The two agreed to keep in contact to discuss the issues further. In the past, the United States had accused China of “flagrant violation” and not playing appropriate role in convincing Pyongyang to cooperate. The American administration under President Joe Biden have attempted several ways to bring North Korea to the negotiating table with no substantial result. 

According to South China Morning Post, on the occasion of completing 60 years of their relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the “brotherhood” the two shared. He also spoke of taking initiatives to promote economic development in North Korea. This amidst the sanctions that the other powerful countries have been imposing is a complete violation.