China Pressuring North Korea To Return To Nuclear China
China appears to be applying some pressure to North Korea on the nuclear issue:
BEIJING — The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, bluntly told a North Korean envoy Friday that his country should return to diplomatic talks designed to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, according to a state-run Chinese news agency.
“The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace on the peninsula is what the people want and also the trend of the times,” Mr. Xi said in a meeting at the Great Hall of the People with Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, a personal envoy of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, the China News Service reported.
Vice Marshal Choe, who has been in Beijing for three days on a mission to repair the prickly relationship between North Korea and China, handed Mr. Xi a letter from Mr. Kim. The contents were not disclosed.
In telling the North it should return to the negotiating table, Mr. Xi appeared to strike a stern tone, saying, “The Chinese position is very clear: no matter how the situation changes, relevant parties should all adhere to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, persist in safeguarding its peace and stability, and stick to solving problems through dialogue and consultation.”
The Chinese leader called for resuming the so-called six-party talks, the diplomatic effort among six countries including China and the United States that collapsed in 2008 when North Korea walked out.
American experts on North Korea say it is unlikely that North Korea would agree to the talks, largely because the United States and South Korea would insist on preconditions like a pledge from North Korea that it would abandon its nuclear program.
The warning Friday from Mr. Xi follows a clear message the Chinese president delivered at a conference in April at Boao in southern China, when he said that “no one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.”
As the vice marshal proceeded through the standard meetings in Beijing with two senior Communist Party leaders, the usual conduit for relations between the two countries, and then a meeting with a senior Chinese military commander Friday, it remained unclear whether he would be accorded an audience with the Chinese president. The meeting with Mr. Xi at the Great Hall of the People was announced after it occurred.
The erratic behavior of Mr. Kim and his approval of a third nuclear test in February has annoyed China, the biggest economic benefactor of North Korea.
The assessment that the North Koreans won’t comply with the Chinese pressure is likely correct, but it strikes me that it’s only so long that can continue. After all, it’s eminently clear that Pyongyang’s effort to ratchet up tensions as a method of getting concessions from the U.S. and South Korea isn’t likely to work anymore. It failed spectacularly when they tried it in March and April. If the North Koreans to continue to go rogue as they have in the past several months, one can expect additional pressure from Beijing designed to get North Korea back to the bargaining table.