November 23, 2010 13:09
China has yet to respond officially to news that North Korea showed a large uranium enrichment facility to a visiting U.S. expert. The Chinese state media are also keeping mum, with China Central Television and the Xinhua news agency only briefly reporting on Monday morning that Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, is on an urgent trip to South Korea, China and Japan.
Diplomats in Beijing speculate that North Korea failed to inform China that it was building the facility. "We don't know whether North Korea notified China of its uranium enrichment program beforehand," a diplomat said. "But looking at delayed response from China, it's unlikely."
Chinese President Hu Jintao repeatedly called on North Korea to be more forthcoming when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during Kim's visits to the country in May and August. Hu was apparently alluding to his unhappiness when the North notified China of its nuclear tests only at the last minute.
Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert at the Party School of the Communist Party Central Committee, told Reuters that China understands "the core dispute as being between the United States and North Korea," and that it is "not up to China to exert pressure."
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