February 21, 2007

WHEN NO ONE HAS YOUR BACK:

Thirteen Years Later (George H. Wittman, 2/21/2007, American Spectator)

China, already politically dominant, is now recognized as the major regional economic power -- competing only with Japan. Ironically this strength has been gained through the PRC veering away from its commitment to strict socialist economic principles. The North Korean leadership cannot admit it openly, but it no longer can consider China as the same fraternal partner it once was. Pyongyang, from its continued Stalinist perspective, certainly views Beijing's eroding Communist dogma as giving impetus to China's emergence as a nascent capitalist state.

For its part Beijing perceives the ongoing contest of wills between Washington and Pyongyang as now having a new formidable component in Tokyo's intense reaction against the DPRK's nuclear armament. Japan is no longer relatively passive in the face of North Korea's aggressive behavior. In other words, the overall dynamic has been altered.

The North Koreans, in turn, recognize this change in the environment of the negotiations at hand. Under this new set of parameters is a host of economic, political and military considerations that did not exist thirteen years ago. [...]

China expects success in the next two months in the shutting down of the North Korean nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, as does most, though not all, of the Bush Administration. [...]

The DPRK desperately needed the proffered energy assistance and the Bush Administration needed this political win.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2007 8:35 AM
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