Showing posts tagged as "china"

Showing posts tagged china

28 Feb
Cross Purposes: Beijing, Washington and the Korean Peninsula | Daniel Pinkston and Yanmei Xie
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent East Asia tour raised the prospect that the Six-Party Talks – in the deep freeze for over five years – could soon reconvene. After conversing with Chinese officials, Kerry spoke positively of their promise to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Kerry announced in Beijing that “China could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearising North Korea. In the background was hope that an inter-Korean thaw might be underway, with the two Koreas agreeing to hold the first reunion of separated family members in over three years.
But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s own statement, while forceful, was far less specific. “China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula”. Kerry had said the two sides agreed that the North “must take meaningful, concrete, and irreversible steps towards verifiable denuclearisation, and it needs to begin now”. Wang stressed that the “top priority at the moment is to grasp the opportunity and resume talks”.
Clearly the U.S. and China have a mismatch in priorities. Even though both posit denuclearisation as a goal, Beijing and Washington have contradicting prescriptions. The U.S. employs diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions, containment, and deterrence to pressure Pyongyang to denuclearise. Many in Washington believe Beijing holds the real key given the North’s economic dependence on China.  But China is reluctant to take any coercive action that might destabilise the Kim regime and possibly change a delicate geopolitical balance. So China utilises diplomatic engagement and economic cooperation as instruments with which to encourage the North Korean leadership to denuclearise, but it is willing to live with a de facto nuclear North Korea in exchange for stability in the present. Kerry himself acknowledged this when he said the Chinese “will not allow a nuclear program” in the North and added: “over the long run”.
Certainly a public consensus is emerging in China that believes Beijing’s unconditional support has led to some excessive North Korean behaviour contrary to China’s interests. Xi Jinping’s administration is trying to re-set boundaries. China almost certainly would deliver a harsh reprimand if North Korea were to conduct another nuclear or missile test, or start a military skirmish with the South, for example. But the red lines that would trigger serious punishment – and what the punishment would be – remain unclear.
Both the U.S. and China wish to avoid a war on the peninsula and therefore share an interest in managing Pyongyang’s behaviour. However – and here’s the fundamental difference in viewpoints – the risks and costs associated with managing Pyongyang are qualitatively different from those associated with the actions that might be required for denuclearisation. Pyongyang’s “normal” intransigence can be countered with short-term, easily reversible steps such as temporarily slowing down economic cooperation or tightening border inspections. Making Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons almost certainly would require more drastic actions, some of which could threaten Beijing’s bottom lines of no instability, no sudden regime change, no unified U.S. ally on China’s border. Managing Pyongyang’s behaviour helps maintain the status quo; denuclearising North Korea risks changing the status quo.
Setting the table to resume the Six-Party Talks appears to be good enough for China. The framework allows Beijing to play its preferred role of mediator, garnering good-will for its efforts while ensuring minimum costs to its relations with the parties involved (the U.S., both Koreas, Japan and Russia). The Chinese consensus is that the North Korean nuclear issue is ultimately a “U.S.-DPRK” problem that can be solved if the two parties would only sit down and hammer out an agreement, so Beijing may well feel it has done its part if it can get the parties to reconvene talks. Having the parties at the table also gives Beijing a structure for monitoring and managing tensions.
The barriers to talks therefore remain significant. Washington wants Pyongyang to take verifiable and irreversible steps towards dismantling its nuclear program, including implementing its previous denuclearisation commitment. China, however, wants the U.S. to lower its threshold for talks, or in Wang Yi’s words, “show flexibility”.
U.S. policymakers very likely see the limits of cooperating with Beijing, but at this stage choose to paper over differences in public. Lauding China’s commitment to denuclearise the North, Kerry also could be aiming to bind Beijing to a position it might find difficult to abandon. But Beijing has its own ideas. China’s stated goal actually is “the denuclearisation of the peninsula”, a nod to Pyongyang’s assertion that Washington’s nuclear umbrella must be retracted from Seoul.
In short, there is little sign of Beijing moving towards Washington’s pressure-driven approach in the absence of Pyongyang crossing China’s red lines. Evidence suggests quite the opposite. On the heels of Kerry’s visit to Beijing, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin travelled to Pyongyang where he reiterated China’s desire to foster the “healthy and stable development of bilateral relations”, including by “respecting each other’s interests and expanding pragmatic cooperation”.  China may be willing to apply pressure on North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks. But when the table is set, Beijing will likely congratulate itself for fulfilling its responsibilities, and the ball will then be in Washington’s court as to whether talks alone are sufficient.
crisisgroupblogs.org
PHOTO: REUTERS/Diego Azubel/Pool

Cross Purposes: Beijing, Washington and the Korean Peninsula | Daniel Pinkston and Yanmei Xie

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent East Asia tour raised the prospect that the Six-Party Talks – in the deep freeze for over five years – could soon reconvene. After conversing with Chinese officials, Kerry spoke positively of their promise to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Kerry announced in Beijing that “China could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearising North Korea. In the background was hope that an inter-Korean thaw might be underway, with the two Koreas agreeing to hold the first reunion of separated family members in over three years.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s own statement, while forceful, was far less specific. “China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula”. Kerry had said the two sides agreed that the North “must take meaningful, concrete, and irreversible steps towards verifiable denuclearisation, and it needs to begin now”. Wang stressed that the “top priority at the moment is to grasp the opportunity and resume talks”.

Clearly the U.S. and China have a mismatch in priorities. Even though both posit denuclearisation as a goal, Beijing and Washington have contradicting prescriptions. The U.S. employs diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions, containment, and deterrence to pressure Pyongyang to denuclearise. Many in Washington believe Beijing holds the real key given the North’s economic dependence on China.  But China is reluctant to take any coercive action that might destabilise the Kim regime and possibly change a delicate geopolitical balance. So China utilises diplomatic engagement and economic cooperation as instruments with which to encourage the North Korean leadership to denuclearise, but it is willing to live with a de facto nuclear North Korea in exchange for stability in the present. Kerry himself acknowledged this when he said the Chinese “will not allow a nuclear program” in the North and added: “over the long run”.

Certainly a public consensus is emerging in China that believes Beijing’s unconditional support has led to some excessive North Korean behaviour contrary to China’s interests. Xi Jinping’s administration is trying to re-set boundaries. China almost certainly would deliver a harsh reprimand if North Korea were to conduct another nuclear or missile test, or start a military skirmish with the South, for example. But the red lines that would trigger serious punishment – and what the punishment would be – remain unclear.

Both the U.S. and China wish to avoid a war on the peninsula and therefore share an interest in managing Pyongyang’s behaviour. However – and here’s the fundamental difference in viewpoints – the risks and costs associated with managing Pyongyang are qualitatively different from those associated with the actions that might be required for denuclearisation. Pyongyang’s “normal” intransigence can be countered with short-term, easily reversible steps such as temporarily slowing down economic cooperation or tightening border inspections. Making Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons almost certainly would require more drastic actions, some of which could threaten Beijing’s bottom lines of no instability, no sudden regime change, no unified U.S. ally on China’s border. Managing Pyongyang’s behaviour helps maintain the status quo; denuclearising North Korea risks changing the status quo.

Setting the table to resume the Six-Party Talks appears to be good enough for China. The framework allows Beijing to play its preferred role of mediator, garnering good-will for its efforts while ensuring minimum costs to its relations with the parties involved (the U.S., both Koreas, Japan and Russia). The Chinese consensus is that the North Korean nuclear issue is ultimately a “U.S.-DPRK” problem that can be solved if the two parties would only sit down and hammer out an agreement, so Beijing may well feel it has done its part if it can get the parties to reconvene talks. Having the parties at the table also gives Beijing a structure for monitoring and managing tensions.

The barriers to talks therefore remain significant. Washington wants Pyongyang to take verifiable and irreversible steps towards dismantling its nuclear program, including implementing its previous denuclearisation commitment. China, however, wants the U.S. to lower its threshold for talks, or in Wang Yi’s words, “show flexibility”.

U.S. policymakers very likely see the limits of cooperating with Beijing, but at this stage choose to paper over differences in public. Lauding China’s commitment to denuclearise the North, Kerry also could be aiming to bind Beijing to a position it might find difficult to abandon. But Beijing has its own ideas. China’s stated goal actually is “the denuclearisation of the peninsula”, a nod to Pyongyang’s assertion that Washington’s nuclear umbrella must be retracted from Seoul.

In short, there is little sign of Beijing moving towards Washington’s pressure-driven approach in the absence of Pyongyang crossing China’s red lines. Evidence suggests quite the opposite. On the heels of Kerry’s visit to Beijing, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin travelled to Pyongyang where he reiterated China’s desire to foster the “healthy and stable development of bilateral relations”, including by “respecting each other’s interests and expanding pragmatic cooperation”.  China may be willing to apply pressure on North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks. But when the table is set, Beijing will likely congratulate itself for fulfilling its responsibilities, and the ball will then be in Washington’s court as to whether talks alone are sufficient.

crisisgroupblogs.org

PHOTO: REUTERS/Diego Azubel/Pool

18 Feb
U.N. North Korea Report Puts China in Uncomfortable Position | Brian Spegele
A United Nations report that bleakly details widespread human rights abuses in North Korea is putting China in an uncomfortable position over its close ties to its isolated neighbor.
In its damning portrayal of North Korea, a special commission impaneled by the U.N. Human Rights Council takes Beijing to task for repatriating North Koreans who cross the border into China and are sometimes tortured and executed on return. The commission recommended that the U.N. Security Council refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court and adopt sanctions against North Korean leaders for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.
On a practical level, the report is unlikely to alter China’s policy toward Pyongyang, some scholars familiar with Chinese-North Korean relations said. As a permanent member of the Security Council, Beijing has veto authority. China’s role as North Korea’s largest trading partner and political benefactor is a strategic decision to maintain calm and a buffer on its northeast border, North Korea watchers said.
FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)
Photo: felibrilu/flickr

U.N. North Korea Report Puts China in Uncomfortable Position | Brian Spegele

A United Nations report that bleakly details widespread human rights abuses in North Korea is putting China in an uncomfortable position over its close ties to its isolated neighbor.

In its damning portrayal of North Korea, a special commission impaneled by the U.N. Human Rights Council takes Beijing to task for repatriating North Koreans who cross the border into China and are sometimes tortured and executed on return. The commission recommended that the U.N. Security Council refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court and adopt sanctions against North Korean leaders for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.

On a practical level, the report is unlikely to alter China’s policy toward Pyongyang, some scholars familiar with Chinese-North Korean relations said. As a permanent member of the Security Council, Beijing has veto authority. China’s role as North Korea’s largest trading partner and political benefactor is a strategic decision to maintain calm and a buffer on its northeast border, North Korea watchers said.

FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)

Photo: felibrilu/flickr

14 Feb
Kerry pushes China on North Korea’s nukes | Simon Denyer
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday that China’s leaders told him that they were willing to put additional pressure on North Korea if it did not return to talks about abandoning its nuclear weapons program, but he acknowledged that Washington and Beijing took different approaches to the issue.
On a tour though Asia, Kerry said he held a constructive meeting Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. He said he urged China to “use every tool at its disposal” to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
But Washington-based China experts said Beijing was unlikely to push its longtime ally too far over the issue and remained unwilling to join a U.S.-led attempt to isolate the Pyongyang regime.
FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)
Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund/flickr

Kerry pushes China on North Korea’s nukes | Simon Denyer

Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday that China’s leaders told him that they were willing to put additional pressure on North Korea if it did not return to talks about abandoning its nuclear weapons program, but he acknowledged that Washington and Beijing took different approaches to the issue.

On a tour though Asia, Kerry said he held a constructive meeting Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. He said he urged China to “use every tool at its disposal” to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

But Washington-based China experts said Beijing was unlikely to push its longtime ally too far over the issue and remained unwilling to join a U.S.-led attempt to isolate the Pyongyang regime.

FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)

Photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund/flickr

23 Jan
Obama’s Asia rebalance turns into headache as China, Japan relations spiral down | Simon Denyer
China and Japan are not talking any more, and the United States is hardly being listened to.
A dispute over a remote chain of islands in the East China Sea has spiraled into an increasingly dangerous standoff between Beijing and Tokyo in the last few weeks, deeply complicating President Obama’s attempts to forge closer partnerships in the region.
Beijing recently announced that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was simply not welcome there. At the same time, the media in both countries have stoked the fire with speculation about a possible military confrontation that could even suck in the United States, which is bound by treaty to defend Japan in case of attack.
U.S. officials and experts say conflict between the Asian powers remains unlikely, with both sides keen to preserve economic ties, and neither likely to emerge as a clear winner.
FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)
Photo: Asitimes/flickr

Obama’s Asia rebalance turns into headache as China, Japan relations spiral down | Simon Denyer

China and Japan are not talking any more, and the United States is hardly being listened to.

A dispute over a remote chain of islands in the East China Sea has spiraled into an increasingly dangerous standoff between Beijing and Tokyo in the last few weeks, deeply complicating President Obama’s attempts to forge closer partnerships in the region.

Beijing recently announced that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was simply not welcome there. At the same time, the media in both countries have stoked the fire with speculation about a possible military confrontation that could even suck in the United States, which is bound by treaty to defend Japan in case of attack.

U.S. officials and experts say conflict between the Asian powers remains unlikely, with both sides keen to preserve economic ties, and neither likely to emerge as a clear winner.

FULL ARTICLE (Washington Post)

Photo: Asitimes/flickr

10 Jan
Coastal Province’s Fishing Rules Alarm U.S. | Bree Feng
New fishing regulations issued by a Chinese province along the South China Sea have once again focused international attention on a complex territorial dispute and raised the question of what kind of power China will become.

In a move that a spokeswoman for the State Department, Jen Psaki, on Thursday called a “provocative and potentially dangerous act,” the southern Chinese province of Hainan issued the new regulations, effective Jan. 1, that require foreign fishing vessels to obtain permission from the Chinese government before plying sea waters that China claims.
FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo: llee_wu/flickr

Coastal Province’s Fishing Rules Alarm U.S. | Bree Feng

New fishing regulations issued by a Chinese province along the South China Sea have once again focused international attention on a complex territorial dispute and raised the question of what kind of power China will become.

In a move that a spokeswoman for the State Department, Jen Psaki, on Thursday called a “provocative and potentially dangerous act,” the southern Chinese province of Hainan issued the new regulations, effective Jan. 1, that require foreign fishing vessels to obtain permission from the Chinese government before plying sea waters that China claims.

FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)

Photo: llee_wu/flickr

17 Dec
"The cost of sustaining the Kim regime may have increased and the benefits may have declined. But the calculation remains that the potential consequences of cutting Pyongyang loose are unacceptable."

—Daniel Pinkston, Crisis Group’s Deputy Project Director for North East Asia, TIME 

Last week, Crisis Group’s Report Fire on the City Gate: Why China Keeps North Korea Close was featured in the Council of Foreign Relations Must Read List! You can check out the full report here!

Last week, Crisis Group’s Report Fire on the City Gate: Why China Keeps North Korea Close was featured in the Council of Foreign Relations Must Read List! You can check out the full report here!

11 Dec
Kim Jong Un’s Purge of His Uncle May Test Ties With China | Emily Rauhala
North Korea today confirmed that Kim Jong Un’s once powerful uncle Jang Song Taek, has been purged — and purged in a spectacular fashion.
In a television segment broadcast on Monday, Jang — the erstwhile No. 2 — is shown being arrested in front of an audience of top party members. State media kept up the drumbeat with charges Jang was “affected by the capitalist lifestyle” and allegations ranging from economic mismanagement to womanizing and drug use. “Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader,” reported KCNA, the party mouthpiece. “But was engrossed in such factional acts such as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene.”
FULL ARTICLE (Time)
Photo: Thierry Ehrmann/Flickr

Kim Jong Un’s Purge of His Uncle May Test Ties With China | Emily Rauhala

North Korea today confirmed that Kim Jong Un’s once powerful uncle Jang Song Taek, has been purged — and purged in a spectacular fashion.

In a television segment broadcast on Monday, Jang — the erstwhile No. 2 — is shown being arrested in front of an audience of top party members. State media kept up the drumbeat with charges Jang was “affected by the capitalist lifestyle” and allegations ranging from economic mismanagement to womanizing and drug use. “Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader,” reported KCNA, the party mouthpiece. “But was engrossed in such factional acts such as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene.”

FULL ARTICLE (Time)

Photo: Thierry Ehrmann/Flickr

4 Dec
China’s ADIZ and the Implications for North East Asia | Dan Pinkston
China’s recent declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea has stimulated much debate and concern and interpretations have varied widely. The Chinese government has asserted that the ADIZ is in accordance with international practice and will contribute to regional peace and air security. But the announcement drew protests from Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia and others. Within days, military aircraft from the United States, Japan and South Korea defied China’s assertion that all aircraft entering the ADIZ would have to submit flight plans, maintain radio contact and follow directions from the Chinese Defense Ministry or face “emergency defensive measures.”
There are no specific international treaty provisions regulating the establishment and administration of ADIZs. About 20 countries have established ADIZs since the U.S. started the trend in the early days of the Cold War but their legitimacy and role in air safety and security are unclear.
FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blogs)
Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen/Flickr

China’s ADIZ and the Implications for North East Asia | Dan Pinkston

China’s recent declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea has stimulated much debate and concern and interpretations have varied widely. The Chinese government has asserted that the ADIZ is in accordance with international practice and will contribute to regional peace and air security. But the announcement drew protests from Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia and others. Within days, military aircraft from the United States, Japan and South Korea defied China’s assertion that all aircraft entering the ADIZ would have to submit flight plans, maintain radio contact and follow directions from the Chinese Defense Ministry or face “emergency defensive measures.”

There are no specific international treaty provisions regulating the establishment and administration of ADIZs. About 20 countries have established ADIZs since the U.S. started the trend in the early days of the Cold War but their legitimacy and role in air safety and security are unclear.

FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blogs)

Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen/Flickr

China’s air defense zone: What you need to know | Jason Miks
GPS speaks with International Crisis Group analyst Yanmei Xie about recent tensions in East Asia, China’s air defense identification zone, and what it means for U.S. ties with Beijing.
What exactly is the air defense identification zone that China has announced?
The air defense identification zone, announced last month, covers a set of islands – called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan – whose sovereignty is hotly disputed by the two countries. Beijing has demanded that from now on, aircraft entering the zone have to report their flight plans, maintain communication and show identification, or “China’s armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond.”
FULL ARTICLE (CNN)
Photo: Al Jazeera English/Flickr

China’s air defense zone: What you need to know | Jason Miks

GPS speaks with International Crisis Group analyst Yanmei Xie about recent tensions in East Asia, China’s air defense identification zone, and what it means for U.S. ties with Beijing.

What exactly is the air defense identification zone that China has announced?

The air defense identification zone, announced last month, covers a set of islands – called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan – whose sovereignty is hotly disputed by the two countries. Beijing has demanded that from now on, aircraft entering the zone have to report their flight plans, maintain communication and show identification, or “China’s armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond.”

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

Photo: Al Jazeera English/Flickr