What Does China Want from Kim Jong-il?

Defectors who were senior officials in the North say it is a myth that China is unconditionally on North Korea's side. They suggest that China may have summoned Kim not in order to side with him but to get an explanation of the sinking of South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan. One North Korean defector said, "China may want hear Kim's explanation before making its final decision about how to deal with the Cheonan issue."

Another defector said, "To South Korea, it might seem to be China which accepted Kim's wish to visit, but it could be the other way round. It may be that China called up Kim to get a responsible answer." Hwang Jang-yop, a former secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party, recently said China apparently does not want to give massive aid to North Korea. "If Kim goes to China to request economic aid, Beijing will definitely demand something in return, which is highly likely to be economic reforms and an end to hereditary succession."  

Within the Communist Party of China, there is apparently a great deal of resistance to letting Kim's third son Jong-un succeed him for fear that this would lay the Chinese model of socialism open to ridicule. Beijing is said to be unhappy that Pyongyang keeps demanding help without accommodating the Chinese model of economic reform and opening.  

Defectors said what China wants is for North Korea to carry out Chinese-style reforms whoever leads the country, so it can develop stably under Chinese influence. They said Beijing could use the Cheonan disaster as catalyst to apply more pressure.  

englishnews@chosun.com / May 05, 2010 10:56 KST