North Korea moved two long-range missiles off the launchpad yesterday, a clear sign that the Norks will not go ahead with the rocket test that has kept the US, Japan, South Korea, and much of world media on edge over the past few weeks.
Another piece of news is equally significant: the Bank of China stopped doing business with the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, joining the US, Japan, Australia, and others in sanctioning North Korea’s main foreign exchange facility and a “key node” in its nuclear proliferation activities. As Pyongyang’s main ally and financial link to the wider world, China is essential in the Washington-led effort to punish North Korea for its recent warmongering.
In the past few months the Kim Jong-un regime in Pyongyang has emerged as a real thorn in China’s side. Beijing has signalled an increased willingness to support Washington’s isolation campaign, even though the Hermit Kingdom is arguably China’s only true remaining ally.
Together, these two developments are good signs that China is on board and that tensions are being eased on the Korean peninsula.