Less than a week after China attempted unsuccessfully to revive talks with North Korea about dismantling its nuclear weapons program in September, China published a list of technology exports newly banned to the smaller nation. China agreed to the United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea earlier this year after Pyongyang conducted further nuclear tests in the face of Chinese objections.
This step indicates China is concerned about the speed of militarization of its neighbor and ally as several reports late in the summer indicated North Korea is growing ever more successful in its weapons program. Satellite photographs recently showed that the nation may be resuming its production of plutonium at the Yongbyon reactor, and American arms experts have reported that Pyongyang itself may now be able to produce some of the components for uranium enrichment.
The “dual-use” technologies banned by China were previously allowed because they have non-weapon functions, including viruses like Ebola, which can be used both for medical research and biological weapons, and other technologies that aid in nuclear research.