[Marxism] China blames US for failure of Korea talks

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu May 12 23:05:01 MDT 2005

It appears from this report, and from the fact that South Korea has now
urged the North to rejoin talks, that the US may be being forced back to
the bargaining table.  It seems likely there will be no N. Korean test
in the immediate future, although I think steps are being taken to make
it possible to organize one very quickly when and if the North Koreans
feel this will improve their situation.

Of course, nothing except destruction of the country's industrial and
scientific infrastructure can decisively reverse the capacity to produce
nuclear weapons that North Korea has now achieved. 
Fred Feldman

May 13, 2005
China Says U.S. Impeded North Korea Arms Talks
BEIJING, May 12 - A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday accused the Bush
administration of undermining efforts to revive negotiations with the
North Korean government and said there was "no solid evidence" that
North Korea was preparing to test a nuclear weapon.

The comments by Yang Xiyu, a senior Foreign Ministry official and
China's top official on the North Korean nuclear problem, were
noteworthy because the Chinese authorities very rarely speak to
journalists about the issue. The comments reflect growing frustration in
Beijing with the Bush administration. 

Even as the White House presses China to find a solution to the nuclear
issue, Chinese officials say, it has hurled insults at North Korea and
given its leaders excuses to stay away from the bargaining table.

"It is true that we do not yet have tangible achievements" in ending
North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Mr. Yang said in an interview.
"But a basic reason for the unsuccessful effort lies in the lack of
cooperation from the U.S. side."

Mr. Yang said that when President Bush referred to the North Korea
leader, Kim Jong Il, as a "tyrant" in late April, Mr. Bush "destroyed
the atmosphere" for negotiations, undoing weeks of efforts to persuade
North Korea that the United States would bargain in good faith.

China, which has used its diplomatic clout to try to broker a peaceful
solution to the nuclear crisis, has struggled to restart six-nation
negotiations, which stalled nearly a year ago. 

Mr. Yang said formally on Thursday what diplomats here had been
whispering for months: personal attacks against Mr. Kim by Mr. Bush,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top administration
officials had caused a "loss of face" for North Korean officials and
created big obstacles to reaching any negotiated solution.

He urged the Bush administration to find some "informal channel" to talk
with North Korean diplomats, perhaps over coffee or a meal, to build
confidence. American officials have resisted any direct contact with
North Koreans outside the six-nation talks. Mr. Yang said that without
some new gestures the obstacles to resuming negotiations could prove

"I know the U.S. is reluctant to have even informal contacts" with North
Korea, he said. "But as the world's superpower, I would hope it can show
more flexibility and sincerity to make a resumption of talks possible."

The Beijing government is determined to head off a looming confrontation
between the United States and North Korea, which it fears could prompt a
regional nuclear arms race and shatter the stability that has
underpinned China's own economic rise.

But the prospects for a negotiated solution have diminished after the
recriminations between the United States and North Korea and warnings by
American officials that North Korea has accelerated its development of
nuclear bombs and may be preparing to test a nuclear device.

Mr. Yang said China would be "very concerned" about a nuclear test. But
he said he doubted North Korea would take that step now, adding that
China had made it "very, very clear" to North Korea that a test or any
other provocative display of its nuclear capability would have serious

North Korea "understands the consequences very clearly," Mr. Yang said.
"I do not think we should reach the conclusion that there will be a

Some American and Chinese analysts have speculated that North Korea may
have made preparations for a test in full view of American spy
satellites to create a sense of urgency about its nuclear program and
lay the groundwork for demanding greater concessions if negotiations
resume. But others say they believe North Korea is determined to become
a full-fledged nuclear power and is prepared to weather penalties that
may be imposed as it pursues that goal.

The United States and China worked closely together to organize multiple
rounds of talks with North Korea that also included South Korea, Japan
and Russia. Not since the two countries coordinated strategies against
the former Soviet Union in the 1980's have they cooperated on a
diplomatic project for such an extended period.

But tensions have risen as North Korea has appeared to be continuing to
develop its nuclear arsenal and has resisted returning to the talks.
Bush administration officials contend that China must begin using more
economic and political leverage to pressure North Korea. China has
rejected "strong-arm tactics" and suggested, usually in private, that
the United States stop demonizing North Korea.

Mr. Yang expressed some puzzlement as to why the United States had
pushed China to cut off oil or fuel supplies to North Korea - part of
its lifeline of support for the government, which is in need of money -
at the same time that it professed to want to resume negotiations.

"If you look at history you cannot find many successful cases in which
sanctions achieved a successful result," he said.

Mr. Yang disputed an account of a meeting he held with Assistant
Secretary of State Christopher Hill that was carried last week in The
Washington Post. In that account, Mr. Yang was quoted as rejecting
American demands to cut off North Korea's fuel supplies, but as
indicating that China might withhold food aid as a way of forcing North
Korea to resume talks.

Mr. Yang said Thursday that he did not discuss those options with Mr.
Hill. He said he did not see the need for any penalties, involving food,
oil shipments or other measures, as long as the six nations involved in
talks were still trying to keep the negotiations alive. He also rejected
the idea, put forward by the United States and Japan, of involving the
United Nations Security Council in the matter.

But he also said China was opposed to imposing penalties "for now,"
leaving open the possibility that it could change its mind if North
Korea exploded a nuclear device or abandoned its commitment to pursuing
a peaceful settlement.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Home Privacy Policy Search
Corrections RSS Help Contact Us Back to Top 

More information about the Marxism mailing list