Feature: Middle East News

A Disturbing Trend: China, Sudan, North Korea, and Iran - Page 2

Author: Matt Gregory
Published: July 16, 2011 at 5:52 am

While North Korea, in a similar manner to Sudan, committed actions that were condemned internationally, such as the 2010 sinking of a South Korean military vessel, China has either refused or reluctantly agreed to impose sanctions on or condemn its totalitarian neighbor. North Korea and China have held a strong alliance for many decades; as a result, many have accepted that China will never be as harsh on the DPRK as other nations in the UN's Security Council, such as America. However, when one observes the violations of international law committed by both Sudan and North Korea and sees China's support for these nations, a trend begins to emerge in which China appears disinterested in the actions of its allies.

A final example of China's relationships with rogue states is that of Iran. While the China-Iran alliance is not as tight-knit as that of China and North Korea, Iran has served China as a major economic partner over the last several years, mainly in the exportation of oil. As a result, China repaid Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian government by, on multiple occasions, refusing to pass a UN Security Council bill that would levee sanctions against Iran for its expanding nuclear program. Therefore, it appears that as nations such as the United States grow farther diplomatically from Iran with every attempt at new sanctions, China has grown closer.

So what do Sudan, North Korea, and Iran all have in common? For one, all three nations have been internationally condemned for the actions of their governments over the last decade. In Sudan, the genocide in Darfur and the lack of government intervention resulted in over 400,000 reported deaths and possibly many more; as a result, Sudan has the distinction of hosting the 21st century's first genocide. In North Korea, nuclear tests that have violated international agreements as well as aggressive actions towards its neighbor South Korea have resulted in an authoritarian state that is almost entirely isolated from the outside world. Lastly, Iran has, against the desires of the UN, America, and other NATO states, continued to enrich uranium and expand its nuclear program, giving some the impression that nuclear weapons are being constructed. Furthermore, Ahmadinejad has openly stated his desire to destroy Israel and America.

However, now, all three nations share one other important connection: each state is now a major trading partner with China. Sudan is China's sixth largest source of oil imports. In North Korea, China has invested heavily in the mineral mining industry in the country's northern region; in addition, having a friendly state on its border creates economic opportunities in the areas of trade and maritime commerce. Moreover, China is Iran's largest trade partner, investing in Iran's oil and natural gas industries and importing a great deal of its oil from Iranian oilfields. With the departure of major oil corporations from Western states such as France, China has emerged as Iran's most valuable importer of oil and natural gas; in addition, as sanctions imposed by America and the UN decrease Iran's trade with the West, China has used this opportunity to establish a leading role in Iran's commercial enterprise.

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: Matt Gregory

I am a political writer mainly focusing my articles on recent events relating to the Arab Spring uprisings and subsequent occurrences in the Middle East and Africa. I have analyzed both US and world politics, and often attempt to identify trends in …

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