The Evolution of the North Korea Crisis through China’s Eyes

    Lyle J. Goldstein

    Security, Asia

    China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 50th Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila, Philippines

    Beijing is “riding the waves” of the current crisis and hoping for a soft landing.

    News of border talks between North Korea and South Korea can only be positive given the dangerous depths that this crisis had plumbed in recent months. That the New York Times greeted the peace overture in a front page editorial of their January 2 edition with deep suspicion as a ploy to break the U.S.-South Korean alliance only suggests how far afield that newspaper has drifted into the hawkish camp on nearly all national security questions. The U.S.-South Korean alliance remains strong and will hardly be jeopardized by border talks. What could break the alliance, however, is the perception growing in South Korea that Americans are willing to flirt with the possibility of initiating (nuclear) war. Such a perception can be dispelled if Americans and their leading newspapers fully embrace negotiations—a stance quite appropriate to the nuclear age—and one wholly consistent with President John F. Kennedy’s famous dictum that we should “never fear to negotiate.”

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