Viewing cable 06BEIJING21796
Title: BEIJING SCHOLARS ON DPRK DEVELOPMENTS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06BEIJING217962006-10-13 13:41:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beijing
VZCZCXRO8713
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #1796/01 2861341
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131341Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9776
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 021796 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: AFTER KOREAN REUNIFICATION 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MARR CH KS KN
SUBJECT: BEIJING SCHOLARS ON DPRK DEVELOPMENTS 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Daniel Shields. 
Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
¶1. (C) China's issuance of a tough statement in reaction to 
the DPRK claimed nuclear test reflected President Hu Jintao's 
anger over Pyongyang's defiance, according to Beijing think 
tanker An Hongquan (protect).  The Chinese leadership was 
particularly "shocked and angered" by the timing of the DPRK 
test, which came during the Communist Party Plenum and on the 
heels of Japanese Prime Minister Abe's visit to Beijing, said 
Party School scholar Qin Zhilai (protect).  An said China's 
serious consideration of punitive measures against the DPRK 
will be tempered by China's desire to preserve the 
possibility of dialogue with Pyongyang by not being perceived 
as tracking too closely with the position of the United 
States.  Party School scholar Liu Jianfei (protect) was sure 
that China would be willing to support some sanctions, but 
said China would have difficulty with some of the proposals 
made by the United States and Japan, particularly intrusive 
inspections and interdiction activities.  Qin was "extremely 
pessimistic" about the possibility of resuming the Six-Party 
Talks, arguing that Pyongyang's objective is to establish 
itself as a nuclear power and that North Korea has no 
intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons.  The USD 24 
million in DPRK funds currently frozen in Macau are 
inflicting greater hardship on the North Korean regime than 
initially assumed, An said.  End Summary. 
 
Hu Jintao's Ire Dictates Tough PRC Reaction 
------------------------------------------- 
 
¶2. (C) China's issuance of a tough statement in reaction to 
the DPRK nuclear test was directly due to President Hu Jintao 
taking personal offense over Pyongyang's defiance of China's 
October 3 warning not to go through with the test, said State 
Council Institute of World Development Deputy Director An 
Hongquan (protect) in an October 13 discussion with poloffs. 
This was the second time the DPRK had defied President Hu in 
little more than three months, An added, the first being 
after the July missile test when Kim Jong-Il refused to meet 
with Hu's envoy Vice Premier Hui Liangyu in Pyongyang.  Hu 
had personally requested the meeting through the North Korean 
Ambassador in Beijing, but Kim still "did not listen." 
 
¶3. (C) The Chinese leadership was particularly "shocked and 
angered" by the timing of the DPRK test, said Central Party 
School Institute of International Strategic Studies scholar 
Qin Zhilai (protect) in a separate conversation with poloff 
on October 13.  The nuclear test came on the heels of 
Japanese Prime Minister Abe's visit to Beijing and during the 
October 8-11 Communist Party Plenum, when China's senior 
leadership had neither the time nor ability to influence 
Pyongyang's decision.  In a separate conversation on October 
12, Central Party School scholar Liu Jianfei (protect) told 
poloff that many officials and scholars are calling for a 
tougher Chinese line toward the DPRK and Chinese opinion has 
begun to shift in this direction. 
 
¶4. (C) According to Ma Licheng, former People's Daily editor 
and long-time Embassy contact, China's adoption of a harder 
line toward North Korea is "one of Hu Jintao's three most 
important accomplishments" to date (the other two being 
restarting a real China-Japan dialogue and sacking of 
Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu).  Nevertheless, even 
though it is a substantive change, its practical impact may 
not be that great.  Ma said there has long been no love lost 
between Chinese leaders and Kim Jong-Il, claiming that even 
Jiang Zemin has long been frustrated with Kim.  Ma related a 
series of past incidents in which Kim reportedly exasperated 
the Chinese leadership, including constantly changing his 
mind on whether and when he would visit China or talk to the 
Chinese leadership and insisting that he get off his train 
and be greeted at locations of his choosing, and not those of 
Hu Jintao's, when Kim previously visited China. 
 
¶5. (C) The scale of the DPRK claimed nuclear blast was 
smaller than it should have been and measured only 1,500 
tons, An stated, noting the DPRK might conduct another test. 
The test prompted a Chinese government-wide emergency action 
meeting to assess potential threats to China from the test, 
both in terms of possible radiation drift and possible North 
Korean refugees seeking shelter at the Chinese border 
crossing in Dandong, said An.  Both An and Qin noted a 
growing anxiety among many government and think tank analysts 
over North Korea's unpredictable nature and both expressed 
their reservations regarding China's ability to influence 
North Korea. 
 
Sanctions: Will China Support? 
 
BEIJING 00021796  002 OF 002 
 
 
------------------------------ 
 
¶6. (C) China's serious consideration of punitive measures 
being discussed by the UNSC, the United States, and regional 
players will be tempered by China's desire to preserve 
opportunities for dialogue within the China-DPRK relationship 
and to avoid being perceived as tracking too closely to the 
position of the United States, An said.  In reality, China's 
position towards the DPRK has actually moved much closer 
philosophically to that of the United States as a result of 
the test.  An believed the shift may become more evident in 
the future, but for now China will look for a resolution that 
expresses its full displeasure with Pyongyang's actions, but 
that is more symbolic in nature and has a specified time 
limit. 
 
¶7. (C) Lamenting the "dilemma" that China faces on the 
sanctions issue, Qin said voting for a sanctions resolution 
is a difficult choice.  Pyongyang's insecurity is part of 
what is driving its behavior, and some in Beijing believe 
that Chinese support for sanctions would only further 
destabilize the situation.  China at all costs wants to avoid 
a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, which would 
likely lead to refugee flows that could impact China's 
domestic stability and could even draw in China, given its 
treaty obligations to North Korea.  The "influential interest 
groups" affiliated with the state-owned enterprises that 
supply North Korea with oil strongly oppose the imposition of 
sanctions on the DPRK. 
 
¶8. (C) Liu was sure that China would be willing to support 
some sanctions, including those on luxury goods and possibly 
other products.  He agreed, however, that China would have 
difficulty with some of the proposals made by the United 
States and Japan, particularly intrusive inspections and 
interdiction activities. 
 
Six-Party Talks: Possibility of Resumption? 
------------------------------------------- 
 
¶9. (C) Even though Beijing still hopes it can persuade 
Pyongyang to return to the talks, Qin said he was "extremely 
pessimistic" about the likelihood of that happening.  The 
international community's and Pyongyang's objectives are 
diametrically opposed: the world still hopes to persuade 
North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, while the 
DPRK's objective is to establish itself as a nuclear power 
that has no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons, he 
declared. 
 
¶10. (C) The DPRK's reaction to the USD 24 million in funds 
frozen in Macau illustrates how desperate the DPRK government 
has become, An stated.  DPRK's triage attempts on several 
converging problems, including rural flooding, government 
bankruptcy and the leadership's weakening domestic control, 
may have pushed DPRK toward the nuclear test, An said.  He 
claimed the DPRK had even suggested that if China would just 
lend them the USD 24 million, they would return to the 
Six-Party Talks.  China has declined to take the offer 
seriously, An said. 
Randt