2003 April 26 Saturday
China Shocked By North Korean Nuclear Threats

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.

Chinese academics think the North Koreans are in over their heads.

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.

Bush Administration hawks are convinced that negotiations with North Korea are a waste of time.

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

CDGuy said at April 27, 2003 10:50 PM:

If we are patient, which has always been necessary with China, I believe that things will turn out as you suggest.

josphat kiragu said at June 13, 2003 2:08 AM:

We have so many countries with nuclear weapons including American itself hence even if someone would provoke Americans or else they find themselves in a defeat situation they would be forced to deploy them hence North Korea should also have a right to own them.Look in the case of Iraq ,why did Americans use cluster bombs yet they are considered as weapons of mass destruction.Let's be fair to all despite wheather third world or super power.All rules should apply to all hence lf Norhkorea isn't supposed to make nuclear weapons the same should apply to Americans.Josphat, Nairobi Kenya.Bcom student at Daystar University

Randall Parker said at June 13, 2003 2:27 AM:

Josphat, I do not think that vile dictatorships can be trusted with nuclear weapons whereas I am not worried that any of the Western democracies will misuse them. Not all governments are equally legitimate. Not all governments are equally good. North Korea's government was willing to let hundreds of thousands of its own people starve to death and its populace are several inches shorter than the South Koreans. The North Koreans live in poverty and oppression and have no freedom. Their government lacks moral legitimacy. It should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

No, I do not think that all governments should be treated equally because all governments are not equally good or bad. You care about what is fair? Then do you see the North Korean government as fair? It is evil. North Korea's government does not even have the right to defend itself. The government does not defend North Korea to protect the North Korean people. It defends North Korea to keep the elite in power and does not care at all about the North Korean people. The North Korean people would benefit by being liberated.

Cluster bombs in Iraq: The US overthrew a vile dictator who killed orders of magnitude more Iraqis than the US did in invading Iraq. War is hell. Some civilian deaths are inevitable. The US defeated Saddam's regime in a very rapid manner and in doing so minimized casualties.

Randall Parker said at June 13, 2003 2:28 AM:

BTW, if you read my later posts you will see that China continues to be unwilling to pressure North Korea enough to end North Korea's nuclear program.

john said at April 27, 2004 6:11 PM:

the average person in North Korea is starving, The US is the largest food providor .The north Korean government re-labels and repacks food on arrival to not let the average N.Korean know were the food comes from Its one fucked up government that needs overhaul ,Primarily at the top.

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