The US has formally introduced a resolution at the UN Security Council to authorize more sanctions against North Korea in response to its recent controversial nuclear test.
As a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power, China can strongly influence the body’s decisions and has previously resisted strong sanctions on the Kim regime, which it props up economically. The two communist countries have been close allies since China supported the North with materiel and troops in the Korean War.
Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, suggests that while the resolution will probably not be too onerous, the fact that China went along with another U.N. sanctions measure against North Korea reflects the growing anger and disillusionment that Beijing feels toward its supposed ally.
“Kim Jong Un is now paying the price for going ahead with a nuclear test despite Chinese warnings not to create trouble during the political transition that has been under way in Beijing the past year,” Fitzpatrick said.
“The real question, though, is the degree to which China will be willing to implement the U.N. sanctions and to impose punishment of its own. A sharp drop in Chinese grain sales to North Korea in January may be a sign that China’s support for U.N. sanctions is more than just a symbolic punishment.”