About the Author
Seungmock Oh was an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday denied the authenticity of an allegedly leaked Communist Party of China (CPC) memo which suggests Beijing will continue to allow North Korea to have nuclear weapons and receive economic assistance.
The document, which is alleged to have been sent on September 15 2017 by the general office of CPC to the ruling party’s international liaison department, is a “fake,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told press on Wednesday.
“North Korea will not have to immediately give up its nuclear weapons,” if it promises not to continue nuclear tests, the document, reported as genuine by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday and separately obtained by NK News, reads.
The suggested assistance included increasing trade with the DPRK in exchange for a freeze in nuclear and missile tests.
It also allegedly includes increased investment in the North Korean military and “advanced mid-and short-range ballistic missiles, cluster munitions.”
It also states that China will make only “symbolic” steps towards following UN sanctions and will guarantee North Korea’s domestic supply of oil.
“Regulations that China would suspend all banking business with Korea will only apply to state-owned banks controlled by the central government and some regional banks,” it adds.
The leak of the document was met with broad skepticism by many in the DPRK-watching community, though a number of experts told NK News on Wednesday that there remained a possibility it could be genuine.
Among these was Seo Jeong-kyung, a political scientist at Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.
“We cannot exclude the possibility that it is authentic,” Seo said. “The document’s sentence style and fonts seem to be almost the same as the genuine official documents of China.”
Chris Green, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leiden, told NK News that sources “positioned to know” believe the document is “genuine,” citing its language and style.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs