The position that North Korea took in recent negotiations with the United States and China in Beijing may drive China to take a harder line toward North Korea.
Shi and other experts have argued that China needs to consider modifying its strong support for North Korea. "A lot of us are telling the government that we, too, need to support regime change," said a Chinese analyst who has advised the government. "But the government is afraid to change."
North Korea claimed it has nuclear weapons and that it may either test them or sell them. The indication that it would even sell nuclear weapons, even if it is just a bluff at this point, is serving as a wake-up call for the Chinese.
In academic circles the feeling of frustration with Pyongyang was clear. "They miscalculate the nature of their main opponent [the US]," said Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing.
"They also miscalculate the nature of their main ally, China. They still feel that whatever they do China will follow," Prof Jin added.
Many diplomats believe that China will now join the US, South Korea, and Japan in a united diplomatic front opposing North Korean nuclear weapons development efforts.
"This is a major slap in the face to China, which had really stuck its neck out to make these talks happen," said Shi Yinhong, a leading expert on international relations at Beijing's People's University. "China will certainly consider whether it needs to take a new approach to the North Korean problem, including the possibility of stepping up the pressure."
The Chinese leaders are now going to ask themselves much harder questions about how to deal with North Korea. The Chinese reaction is encouraging.
Hawks, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argue that the outcome of the Beijing talks "show this whole approach is futile," said a senior U.S. official involved in the discussions. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
I'm not so sure about this. This latest meeting had salutary effects on the thinking of China's foreign policy thinkers. Perhaps in another 3-way meeting between the United States, China and North Korea the North Koreans will act so insane that the Chinese will become convinced that regime change in Pyongyang is necessary.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 April 26 02:42 AM Politics Grand Strategy|