keeps hoping either China or Russia will step in and persuade North
Korea to calm down, put away the nukes and let the US go about its
business in the Middle East. But in recent meetings the two nations
made it clear that they believed it was Bush's big mouth that started
the problem in the first place, and therefore it is the responsibility
of the US to find a solution.
Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxun told his French counterpart that China
advocated a non-nuclear peninsula, direct dialogue between the US
and North Korea and a guarantee from the international community
that North Korea's security concerns would be met.
in a meeting with Japanese officials, toed very much the same line.
Instead of seeing North Korea as a threat to the East, China and Russia
suggest that the US unilateral strutting has created an atmosphere
of tension where one did not exist before. Ask the South Koreans and
you will receive a similar answer.
enemies are multiplying and Bush just can't seem to comprehend why
so many people hate a land of freedom and justice. The Administration
(sans Powell, of course) just can't seem to grasp the bully concept:
"axis of evil"-style challenges and bombs over Kabul and
Baghdad and airbases throughout the known world will isolate you
from the rest of the world.
course, the last thing China wants to see is a war in Korea. Refugees
at the gate, US soldiers on all borders, nuclear explosions ...
nobody wants this. But the US has made it clear that tackling a
nuclear-armed, fight-to-the-death North Korea is not on the list
of things to do this year. So Russia and China can afford to sit
back a bit and wait for the dialogue to begin, which it must, if
nuclear war is to be avoided. For if one thing is clear, the North
Korean army is willing to go down in a blaze of glory.
dialogue between the bully and the rogue is a dream come true for
China, for it would dodge another real obligation to the
international community and it would allow China to continue doing
what it feels it needs to do: Spend billions on space programs,
games, expositions, golf courses, Yao Ming coverage, etc. to keep
the public mind off of the lack of jobs, money and opportunities
and the overflow of corruption, crime, pollution and ruthless greed.
house is so full of cobwebs and dirt that the leaders avoid international
entanglements at all costs. A whole legion of China watchers are
holding their breath waiting for the one event that will propel
the Chinese onto the international stage as a real player and not
just a face-seeking abstainer. If they don't exhale, they will die.
If China does anything unilaterally to defuse the situation, it
will remain a secret from the whole world for as long as possible.
Behind the scenes messages and warnings are the best the US can
hope for and even these actions are not likely.
US has to understand that the world does not believe North Korea
to be in the wrong as much as Bush would like. In fact, there is
a large amount of respect given to a country who will stand up to
US demands. Now, whether world opinion takes into account the starving
population and draconian policies North Korea is so famous for is
of no significance: The fact remains that someone is standing
up to the world bully, and it doesn't matter who that someone is,
people will cheer.
this is why Bush agreed to talk this week. To remove the bully image
and try and gain a little more of the high ground with our friends
and allies in the East who have been pushing for Sunshine and Dialogue
since the ideas floated with Kim Dae Jung's tenure in the South.
while back I
wrote that China stays calm while the US keeps "drawing
bad cards." This is precisely why Bush cannot count on China
for aid in the North Korea situation. North Korea and Pakistan have
a longstanding relationship with China: China keeps the two supplied
with state of the art technology for weapons, roads etc. and the
two little guys keep the rest of the world busy while China continues
developing and making money.
time and energy is spent defusing crises, building up weapons and
troops and soothing erstwhile allies and newfound enemies while
China keeps rolling along, rebuilding cities, paving new roads,
streamlining the government and giving the businessmen a free hand
in developing the country.
and his buddies have a pretty short memory. Just a few months ago
China was labeled the biggest threat to US interests in the future,
both economically and militarily. Now, the US expects a little "help
from its friends" with North Korea. Fat chance, Bush. When the
Administration pointed at China as a competitor and possible future
enemy in a war, they should have thought about what weight such
words may carry.
when China's aid is truly needed, Bush gets naught but a few words
and a perhaps a shrug and a grin.
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is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily,
and elsewhere. His exclusive Antiwar.com column (usually) appears
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