2003 April 03 Thursday
China Pressuring North Korea For Multilateral Talks

While China is publically calling on the United States to engage in direct bilateral negotiations with North Korea Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says China is pressuring North Korea to engage in multilateral negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons development program.

China is now making a substantial effort to press North Korea to accept a US demand for multi-nation regional talks on a tense nuclear crisis, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in Washington on Wednesday.

The "greater degree of restraint" phrase stated by Downer surely refers to Chinese pressure on North Korea to hold back from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Downer said there seemed to be a "clear sign that China is making a substantial effort". Beijing was trying to persuade North Korea to "exercise a much greater degree of restraint", and to take part in multilateral talks.

Downer thinks a multilateral security agreement between countries in the region could be part of a deal with North Korea.

"There could be some scope for countries in southeast Asia and the United States to put together some sort of security guarantees for each other which would therefore address the professed concerns of North Korea," he said.

It is hard to tell what he has in mind for that.

China has also dropped its opposition to a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the North Korea nuclear crisis.

NEW YORK - The UN Security Council will meet next week for an initial round of closed-door discussions on the North Korea nuclear crisis.

Note the extent to which the negotiations on this matter are taking place behind close doors.

Members of the 15-strong body hammered out the decision at a four-hour closed session in New York.

A much larger fraction of the debate over North Korea appears to be occurring behind closed doors. China does not want to be seen as publically challenging North Korea. Other interested principals similarly want to keep their elbow-twisting and deal-making private on this issue. This is in part a reflection of their views of the North Korean regime as paranoid and easily offended. But it also represents a desire to save face by not seeming to be knuckling under to US pressure.

The United States is starting to make headway in getting assorted interested countries to agree to a diplomatic approach that is multilateral for confronting North Korea over its nuclear weapons development program.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 April 03 03:23 PM  Politics Grand Strategy


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