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Sino-North Korean Ties Strained in Wake of Rangoon BombinR
The October assassination attempt in Rangoon against ROKChon Tu-hwon appears to have irritated China's relationship
with North Korea Beijing has registered its disapproval of the Norths apparent role in the bombing with care and circumspection, treatment that suggests the Chinese are seeking lo make their point without engaging In the kind of public acrimony that could threaten their relationship with North Korea. Pyongyang has obliquely acknowledged that strains have developed but. like Beijing, seems interested in preventing further damage in bilateral relations.
Beijing continues lo indicate sensitivity on the issue of DPRK involvement in Ihe Rangoon bombing.ovember, when Renmin Ribao reported Burma's announcement blaming the North Koreans for the bombing and Pyongyang's official denial of the charges, there have been no references in Chinese media to the incident itself, to the ensuing diplomatic maneuvering, or to the trial in Rangoon of captured North Koreansith carrying out thethough Xinhua reporters are attending the trial.'
Chinese sensitivity was also apparent during CPC General Secretary Hu Yaobang's just concluded visit to Japanengthy report onovember on talks between Hu and Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone. Xinhua omitted Nakasonc's references- reported in Japanesethe Rangoonand to the need to prevent such acts of terrorism in the future. At the same time. Xinhua also failed to report Hu'sin the JapaneseChina is "opposed to any terrorist activities by any country."
PRC media did. however, report Hu's broad condemnation of actions aggravating tension on the Korean peninsula. Using language that appears implicitly to condemn Pyongyang's actions in Rangoon, Hu, according to Xinhua onh, told Nakasone lhat China holds that all actions likely to
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cnsion in Korea should be avoided "no mailer where they areu reiterated this same ooini duringii,iv>*iew on Japanese icIcv.Moit un iiit ifiih inere reported b> Xinhua the same day.
The dissemination of Hu's finely-honed criticism of Pyongyang on selected Beijing international foreign language broadcasts also seems to underscore China's sensitivity over the bombing issue and its impact on China'swith North Korea. Beijing's Korean-language service ignored the Hu-Nakasone meeting ofovember altogether,9 November broadcast covering Hu's television interview the day before reported only selectively his remarks on Korea, conspicuously omitting his statement of opposition to acts aggravating tension on the peninsula. China's international service in Burmese similarly has failed to report Hu's comments in this regard. By contrast, broadcasts beamed to other AsianThai, Malay, Indonesian, andreported Hu's remarks on Korea.
Hu's remarks in Japan comeackdrop of otherboth Beijing andthat the Rangoon incident may have clouded the atmosphere of Sino-DPRK lies:
In reporting on theh anniversary of the PRC-DPRK agreement on economic and cultural cooperation, the Chinese failed to reiterate for cither domestic or general foreign audiences their usual characterizations of the special closeness of PRC-DPRK relations. These "militant" and "blood-sealed" ties were noted by Chinese media only in the anniversary message sent by PRC leaders to their Korean counterparts, which was carried only on China's Korean-language service. The usual characterizations, attributed to both Chinese and Korean speakers, didn North Korean accounts of the anniversary observances in both Pyongyang and Beijing. By contrast, in late September, onh anniversary of the founding of the DPRK-PRC friendship associations. Chinese media had noted several references to the special natvre of Sino-Korean ties.
Chinese media accounts of Hu Yaobang's remarks on Sino-Koreanto visiting North Korean delegations onndovember seemed to convey less warmth than has been evident in recent years. Onh,to Xinhua, Hu referred only to the need to carry forward the "revolutionary friendship" between the two sides, while onh he merely described relations as "very good" and stated they will further develop. By contrast, last May, according to Xinhua. Hu told one Korean
delegation that "we will cherish Chinese-Korean friendship like our ownnd told another that the close relationsthe two sides "are iihmt 'mportanl and vJimbk ihan anything."
PRC media failed to note that at the meeting onh Hu reportedly characterized Sino-Korean relations as those of "trusting and learning from each other" and "supporting and respecting eachemarks attributed to himCNA account of tbe meeting. PRC media had previously noted Hu routinely using such formulations with Korean visitors.
KCNA's characterization of the atmospherics at Hu's meetings with Korean delegations in November was onlyy contrast, KCNA has described every meeting in the oast two years that Hu has hadisiting North Korean delegationarmer formulation, either "cordial and friendly" or, in some cases, "comradely andu/rouo)Original document.