Saturday, November 04, 2006

North Korea and China

In a previous post on this site, I explained my theory on how deal with a nuclear North Korea. I believe China has more control inside North Korea than we are willing to acknowledge. I also believe China has less desire to see North Korea disarmed than we believe. As such, I believe that our foreign policy towards North Korea should be simple. If a nuclear weapon detonates in our borders, our allies’ borders, or anywhere we have national interests at stake, the US should hold China accountable. For example, if North Korea launches a nuclear weapon at Japan, the US responds with an overwhelming nuclear strike against China as if China had attacked the US mainland.

On October 31st, Bill Gertz reported some of the declassified information from an upcoming report discussing North Korea and China’s relationship. In his article in the Washington Times, Mr. Gertz discusses the final draft report of the US-China Economic Security Review Commission. This report states, “China has contributed at least indirectly to North Korea’s nuclear program.” If this information isn’t damning enough, the Mr. Gertz goes on to explain that China has apparently been secretly increasing its weapons aid to North Korea, while publicly negotiating with Kim Jung-il to suspend his nuclear program. If the information contained in the report is accurate, then we must treat China as part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

The same day Mr. Gertz’s article appeared, North Korea agreed to return to the Six Party talks. Some of the initial reports I saw suggested that China had been instrumental in getting North Korea to return to the talks. Many of the comments since then have revolved around changing US, and not North Korean, behavior. The US has been prohibiting North Korea from accessing major banking institutions. This is hurting North Korea, and the US says this action is in response to the major counterfeiting going on in North Korea, and not the nuclear program. However, it seems North Korea is focused on getting the US to remove these financial restrictions, and discussing nuclear weapons is only an afterthought. While a date for the actual resumption of the Six Party talks has not been released, it seems most authorities are expecting them to resume sometime in December.

My prediction is that the US will be asked to remove the financial restrictions while North Korea will be asked to do very little. I predict China will argue for lifting these restrictions in order to attempt to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The US would be making a major mistake in conceding anything without getting a full commitment from North Korea and China removing nuclear weapons from North Korea. In my opinion, in order for the US and the World to lift any sanctions, North Korea must commit to handing over its nuclear weapon program, China must commit to a non-nuclear North Korea, and the UN must have full access to North Korean Nuclear facilities. If North Korea and China wish to be participants in the world community, they must take the necessary steps to show they can be trusted by the world community.

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