March 15, 2005

March 15, 2005 | News Releases on Social Security

China More Hindrance Than Help On Nuclear Issues, Analysts Say

WASHINGTON, MARCH 15, 2005-Does China deserve credit for convincing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il to "signal a possible return" to the six-party talks aimed at attempting to keep the Korean peninsula nuclear-free?

John Tkacik, Asia expert at The Heritage Foundation, points out in a new paper that Beijing's great contribution to diplomacy should be taken "with a heavy dollop of soy sauce." Why? Because China's pose as an honest broker has been just that-a pose.

China's public stance on North Korea has been consistently supportive of Pyongyang and consistently critical of Washington, Tkacik says. Hu Jintao, China's new leader, even warned the official media against questioning Beijing's support of Pyongyang. "Despite facing temporary economic difficulties," Hu said in a gross understatement, "politically, [North] Korea has been consistently correct."

Consider how, given China's support of North Korea, the situation has worsened, Tkacik suggests. Since China started saving the world from the menace of North Korean nukes, the North Koreans have announced they have fissile plutonium, threatened to transfer bomb-quality material to rogue states and even threatened to demonstrate a nuclear device. And on Feb. 10 came the kicker: North Korea announced that it had manufactured working nuclear weapons.

The United States should continue the six-party talks for now, Tkacik says. But we should insist the talks not drag on interminably, allowing China to pose as peacemaker, North Korea to conduct an extortion auction among the other parties and both countries to slowly win silent acceptance of the Pyongyang government as a nuclear power.

The United States also should begin to prepare the world for eventual sanctions from the U.N. Security Council or, if China blocks such a move, to take other measures to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear program, Tkacik says.

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