Kim Jong-un’s China Pay a visit to Strengthens His Hand in Nuclear Talks
Beneath the new bonhomie in the official accounts of Mr. Kim’s trip, the edgy nature of the seven-decade-old China-North Korea connection was still apparent.
No agreements between the two leaders had been announced, even on standard troubles. Mr. Xi, in his public comments, created no reference to Mr. Kim’s anticipated meeting with Mr. Trump, an omission that could have reflected Mr. Xi’s displeasure at being left on the sidelines.
There was also no public comment in Beijing about what Mr. Kim was arranging to provide Mr. Trump or what role China would play as the talks approached, concerns of the utmost value to China.
Although China supports the international work to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons, it has also been careful not to press the North challenging enough to danger a collapse of the Kim regime, which could potentially lead to a united Korean Peninsula, under an American security umbrella, on China’s border.
“China needs to know North Korea’s calculations,” said Da Wei, a professor at the University of International Relations in Beijing. “Kim knows the negotiations cannot completely succeed without China’s support. China’s involvement will make any answer far more viable.”
Some analysts mentioned Mr. Kim was repeating a pattern set by his father, Kim Jong-il, who visited China prior to his 2000 summit meeting with South Korea’s then-president, Kim Dae-jung. Kim Jong-il was then about six years into his tenure as North Korea’s leader, just as his son is now.
“Now six years into his personal reign, Kim III seeks to play the function of the proactive, peace-seeking statesman,” stated Lee Sung-yoon, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
He might hope to get Mr. Trump to settle for “another faulty, open-ended, non-biting nuclear deal” that would make it “politically close to-not possible for the U.S. to talk about, let alone implement, a pre-emptive strike, John Bolton at the head of the National Security Council notwithstanding,” Mr. Lee stated.
Published at Thu, 29 Mar 2018 00:59:25 +0000