Pyongyang's Provocations: What Motivates North Korean Threats?

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Undeterred by UN Sanctions

North Korea is aware that its future depends primarily on neighboring China, its last remaining ally in the region. But Chinese scholars and journalists are currently busy wondering if Beijing should maintain its ties to Pyongyang. All it has to do to bring Kim Jong Un and his cronies to their knees is turn off the oil tap and halt food supplies.

Journalist Deng Yuwen, from the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, believes that this is exactly what Beijing should do. In his opinion, the third nuclear test is an ideal opportunity to review China's alliance with the Kim dynasty. Linking China's strategic security with North Korea is an approach that needs to be overhauled, he says.

But the Chinese military and the International Department of the Central Committee are keen to keep the close relationship alive. Some in Beijing have claimed that Xi Jinping is planning to sit down with diplomats and experts to tackle the North Korean problem once the National People's Congress is over.

The expanded sanctions imposed Thursday include a ban on sales of jewellery, yachts, luxury vehicles and racing cars -- but not on fur and liquor. Kim and his comrades can carry on toasting with fine cognac.

Whatever they decide and whichever forces prevail in China's North Korean policy, Shi is convinced that "relations are at rock bottom." Beijing agreed to the UN's latest sanctions knowing that they are open to interpretation and cannot inflict serious harm on the North Koreans. -- with wires

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