December 19, 2005


China's role in North Korea (Jason Qian and Anne Wu , December 19, 2005, Boston Globe)

THE SIX-PARTY TALKS created to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem have lost momentum again. All six parties agreed on a denuclearization statement in September, but when the United States started imposing sanctions on North Korean enterprises suspected of counterfeiting and money-laundering, Pyongyang declared that it would boycott future talks. With the two countries at odds again, the denuclearization agreement remains an empty promise, raising the question: Is this framework of six-party talks sustainable for achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula?

The talks will be sustainable only if they create a negotiation model that can maximize the common denominator of regional security and stability. It is thus crucial for China to transform its role from a neutral mediator to a more assertive one that will be able to tame the two ''veto" parties -- Pyongyang and Washington -- and reorient the talks to the long-term interest of regional security and economic prosperity.

The merits and the shortfalls of being a mediator are all about neutrality.

Which is why we should walk away from the talks. China is as much an enemy as N. Korea. Let them struggle with the Kims on their own, not pretend they occupy a midpoint between us and the North.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2005 11:04 AM

What struggle? China doesn't care if millions of North Koreans starve to death.

Posted by: pj at December 19, 2005 11:59 AM

The Chinese are not our enimies, but they are not our friends. Our relationship is purely business. They keep the Kims around to wave at us and say boo. We need to drop the rope.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 19, 2005 1:30 PM

Robert - North Korea became our enemy when they began proliferating their nuclear weapons to terror-sponsoring states like Iran and Syria. China is an enemy if they protect North Korea.

Posted by: pj at December 19, 2005 1:43 PM

China is deciding if they want to be an enemy.

The decision is in process. NK is like a rabid pet. The Chinese have the only real leash. The US can euthanize NK, but that costs more than a leash, and it might make the pet's owner a bit upset.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 19, 2005 2:47 PM

Let's bring our troops home from the Korean Peninsula and end this 50 year long quagmire.

Posted by: Dave W at December 19, 2005 10:18 PM