1 times the estimated 6698 billion won in reduced

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Unformatted text preview: her international issues. Also unclear is what benefit China would gain from allowing or supporting North Korean isolation and destabilization of South Korea. With an overall foreign policy of emphasizing stability on China’s borders while focusing on the problems of rapid economic growth, Beijing would not likely look favorably upon a return to the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula. China and South Korea share similar foreign policy orientations toward North Korea. Chinese officials have made public pronouncements both urging a conciliatory line to North Korea and arguing that North Korea is on the path to reform. In January 2005 Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Li Bin argued that “To think that North Korea will collapse is far-fetched speculation. The fundamental problem is the North’s ailing economy. If the economic situation improves, I think we can resolve the defector problem. The support of the South Korean government will greatly help North Korea in this respect.”39 The extent of China’s trade with and investment into North Korea far exceeds that of even South Korea: in 2005 over half of total North Korean trade was with China, almost double the total amount of inter-Korean trade.40 Piao Jianyi of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies in Beijing made the following statement: Although many of our friends see it as a failing state, potentially one with nuclear weapons, China has a different view. North Korea has a reforming economy that is very weak, but every year is getting better, and the regime is taking measures to reform its economy, so perhaps the U.S. should reconsider its approach.41 Kim Jong-il’s nine-day visit to Chinese industrial zones in January 2006 is evidence that China continues to have stable relations with North Korea and, furthermore, that China intends to continue the current engagement policy, showing few signs of taking a more coercive stance toward North Korea. In fact, Chinese trade and investment into North Korea outstrip that into even South Korea; for example, 70% of North Korean imports in 2005 were from China.42 Former U.S. assistant secretary of state James Kelly recently compared China-DPRK relations to gravitational pull: The Northern banks of the Tumen and Yalu Rivers are enormously more prosperous than they have been in the past. They are visibly and figuratively prosperous. There are bright lights and active cities… The Chinese economy is exercising a Jupiter-like influence on areas that are relatively close to the country, even to…the Korean peninsula and the relatively impoverished areas of North Korea on the south side of those bordering rivers… If we’re not able to resolve the denuclearization soon, these realities may lead to some developments that could surprise us. 43 China is the most likely country to have increased influence on the peninsula in the absence of a U.S.ROK alliance. For the time being, South Korean and Chinese interests appear to be fairly consistent: increasing the economic and cultural opening of North Korea, focusing on stability rather than regime change...
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