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POLITICS: China a Reluctant Participant in North Korea Talks

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posted on Feb, 19 2005 @ 02:21 AM
China may be quite wary of facilitating the six-nation talks with North Korea regarding their nuclear arms as requested by the U.S., Japan and other regional powers. North Korea, a longtime ally of China, is a fellow communist state that China fought hard to protect during the Korean War. A unified democratic Korean peninsula could be a threat to China by freeing up U.S. troops from South Korea allowing an allied military posture better able to defend Taiwan from an aggressive Chinese takeover.
SHANGHAI, Feb. 18 — The dispatch by China of a high-level envoy this weekend to persuade the North Koreans to return to talks on their nuclear weapons would seem to present it with an ideal opportunity. China’s economy is growing enormously, casting shadows in every direction.

Its fast-modernizing military has the attention of every power, regional or global. No other country, meanwhile, enjoys the kind of long, unbroken friendship that China has nurtured for over five decades with North Korea. In short, all the pieces would seem to be in place for Beijing to score its first big coup in global diplomacy, brokering an end to the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula.

The only problem with this optimistic scenario is that it is shared by almost no one in China.

For now, the Chinese remain reluctant to take major diplomatic risks on North Korea, convinced that this longtime ally, a country that Chinese soldiers shed blood in large numbers to defend, will never turn against them. Analysts say that Beijing’s top priority is to maintain quiet on its frontier, and that it would take a more aggressive tack only if tensions between Washington and North Korea were to increase seriously.

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I have no doubt that China is a bit nervous over the North Korean situation for many reasons. A collapse of the North Korean government would not only bring the sphere of U.S. influence right up to their border in the long term, it would also create a huge refugee problem in the short term. However, I feel both China's economic relationship with the U.S. as well as fears of U.S. nuclear missiles being deployed in Japan and South Korea will be the deciding factor and override any loyalty China may feel towards the North Korean regime.

Related Discussion Threads:
WAR: China Envoy in North Korea To Urge Them Back to Nuke Talks
NEWS: Japan, US to declare Taiwan a mutual security concern

[edit on 2/19/2005 by djohnsto77]

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