Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Will Americans Mind Closer Ties Between North Korea and China?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Kim-Jong-il-greets-Chinas-001Kim Jong-Il’s visit to China this week is another reminder for Americans that we have very little ability to dictate policy to North Korea.   It represents a tangible erosion of our sphere of influence; it is a sign of China’s ascendancy.

Regardless of whether the six-party talks continue, China will always be the one with the main influence on and self-interest in North Korea’s future stability.  China doesn’t want to see a unified Korea anytime soon, and it doesn’t want to deal with turmoil on its border that could lead to a massive refugee crisis.

With leadership change on the horizon, it seems likely that Kim Jong-Il will seek to set a foreign policy course and domestic development trajectory for his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to implement.    By providing economic security (and opportunity), China can also seek to dissemble any nuclear infrastructure that North Korea has established – but it should be noted that border security, not nuclear threats, are China’s main concern.  China is also motivated to remove the nuclear threat, but its methods and timeline are inherently different from ours.

The other variable to contend with will be the American public’s perception/opinion of this evolution and what the reaction of our politicians will be.  For example, it seems highly unlikely that the US will ever want to see the six-party talks end (despite a lack of progress over 7 years).  Such an ending would result in too many headlines.  Fortunately, China doesn’t usually seek to be the sole actor responsible for extra-territorial security.  So while reality will be China as the main actor, perception will focus on a face-saving multi-lateral management.

CTP Podcast – The Good and The Bad of Foreign Media Reporting on China

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Global MediaPrompted by narrow reporting on China’s activities in Africa, we pick through the challenges faced by global media outlets in their efforts to present facts from the field.

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China Pushes North Korea Talks – With What Aim?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Six Party TalksAs many in China are undoubtedly aware of, China has publicly called for more Six-Party Talks on North Korea nuclear matters. As reported here on The Nuclear Threat Initiative’s website this support comes after a series of meetings and visits by diplomats working on the disarmament issue.

At the same time, China publicly discouraged North Korea from adopting a succession plan (as reported by Bloomberg). It is notable that China said this request was made some time ago.

From a new cycle perspective, it is interesting to see this come up after a spate of articles and op-ed pages talked about how threatening China is. On the one hand, the Chinese government seems to be doing the right thing by attempting to counter-balance negative news with a reminder that they do help with global security matters. But at the same time, this may be taken as somewhat self-serving and the timing may be too close to the recent negative articles to get much attention.

While the actions are real, and the role played by China important, American opinion will be more affected by sustained dialogue and actual results more than the delayed revelation that China said something to a relative of the dear leader.

North Korean Nuclear Program

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

The NYT published a story that captures one of the main diplomatic issues China is struggling to resovle.  Although it doesn’t go into detail on the failed six-party talks, this activity is sure to create anxiety across the Chinese populous and the government will need to respond.