China deals major financial blow to Kim Jong Un
Bank of China cuts off North Korean transactions, closes accounts.
The Bank of China has stopped doing business with the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, in a move that signals the displeasure of the Chinese state over North Korea's recent antics. The North Korean bank has been accused by the U.S. of financing North Korea's missile programs.
China is expressing its disapproval with North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un, and his belligerent posturing on the peninsula. North Korea's antics invite U.S. and foreign attention in the region, attention China would rather not contend with.
In addition, China has signaled an increased willingness to work with Washington to correct North Korean behavior. A conflict, even if limited, would profit nobody.
China is essential to North Korea, providing most of the resources the country needs just to survive. Without Chinese imports, North Korea would quickly run out of fuel and food. China also buys most of North Korea's exports.
The international community has done much to exert pressure on North Korea to discourage the reclusive state from pursuing a nuclear and missile program. North Korea says it will use its nuclear weapons against any aggression and has made several recent threats, particularly against South Korea.
However, tensions have quickly cooled since the end of joint U.S. and South Korean exercises last week. Pyongyang has already withdrawn two of its missiles from firing positions on the coast and it is believed that many soldiers have been sent to help farmers plant crops for the growing season.
North Korea remains a backwards state, decades behind other countries of the world in many respects. Electricity is intermittent and food and fuel are often scarce commodities. The people are brutally repressed and are compelled to participate in public events, which amounts to worship of Kim Jong Un and his father and grandfather.
China's decision to suspend financial transactions with the North via its bank is a major victory for the west and a setback for Kim Jong Un. It is hoped that Chinese pressure can convince Kim Jong Un to pursue a new policy of openness and reform, rather than of oppression and belligerence.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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