Third Party & Independents Archives

Why is President Xi Sabotaging the North Korea Talks?

Is President Xi trying to ensure a seat at the table in any talks between North Korea and America? This seems to be the growing consensus after a notable change in the DPRK’s attitude after a surprise second meeting between Kim jong un and President Xi around the 8th of May in Dalian this year. Here’s what China analyst Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the Washington Post:

China's biggest nightmare is North Korea having a closer relationship with the United States and South Korea than it does with China.

So it could be that North Korea's harsher rhetoric of late - supposedly in reaction to John Bolton's hawkishness if you believe the commentary from many in the West's foreign policy establishment - is actually the result of encouragement - both financial and political - from China? The result at this point is the cancellation of the Singapore Summit and the renewed increase in tensions in East Asia and in Washington. And yes, that means that we have edged back to a place where war is not impossible.

At this point it would be somewhat facile to comment on the fact that Sun Tzu wrote his book a millennium and a half before Trump's, because that gives the impression that China's ancient culture inexorably means it's political and business elites are just so much darn smarter. Let us be reminded of Mao's disastrous Great Leaps forward, of the hunger and brutality, of the Cultural Revolution that in some ways was the precursor of the poisonous cultural warfare today in much of the West. Chinese politicians have the right to be just as short-sighted, stubborn, and cruel- or in Mao's case, as psychotic - as those of any other nation.

Is Xi, therefore, miscalculating if he indeed has been sabotaging the incipient thawing of DPRK-US relations? If Trump decides that Xi has upstaged him and undercut him, how will he react both in terms of the trade negotiations and in terms of hot spots like the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea? Could a trade war become something worse?

I suspect that there's still enough good will to try and rescue something from the process. But that could evaporate in a very short time if North Korea remains convinced by China that being pugnacious is the key to dealing with Trump and America. And you can't set aside the question of how to deal directly with China on the matter of trade. It's all linked and as Gordon Chang warns in The Daily Beast, it could easily escalate.

We may be about to find out how dangerous President Xi's One Belt One Road initiative is for World stability.

Posted by AllardK at May 25, 2018 12:57 PM
Comment #427356

Stephen, Kim Jong-Un was never going to go to Singapore. The whole thing was just a tactic to see what they could get out of the dotard. Dumpty has already ceded leadership in Asia to China, and they know how to keep him happy with bribes. He just gave Kushner a security clearance when no one else wanted that specifically because of the China contacts. The most significant thing that Xi has done is to push russia out of a significant role in all this, which putain may not care about anyway. He’s concentrating on increasing his influence in Europe.

Kim went through a show of blowing up his nuclear test site, which collapsed last year, alarming China. Now he’s being treated like a big boy, and seems happy. Whatever happens there will mostly be up to South Korea. They actually have investments in the north and are willing to do a lot more. Dumpty the Dotard doesn’t even know what allies are. If he didn’t make the alliance, it doesn’t matter to him, unless there are more bribes on offer.

Posted by: Ohrealy at May 25, 2018 4:34 PM
Comment #427357

It amuses me to read comments deriding President Trump’s efforts to curtail North Korean ambitions when past presidents could only delay the inevitable with bribes.

We all know, yet only some will not admit it, that the policy of past presidents was to kick-the-can down the road.

I give President Trump high marks for his efforts so far in dealing with “Rocket Man”. If necessary, a few concessions to China, for their cooperation in ending nuclear blackmail, is a small price to pay.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 25, 2018 4:47 PM
Comment #427371

We have an opportunity with North Korea. We got lucky. Their 6th underground nuclear test last year caused a cave in, killing 100, and another 100 died in a rescue attempt. If we got really lucky, many of the North Korean scientists and researchers died. North Korea made a show of inviting reporters to watch them shut and fill the entrances, but they are concerned about another earthquake releasing a radioactive cloud.

So opportunity knocked. A long term strategy of containment paid off. There was no war, and just as North Korea appeared to be most threatening, their nuclear program literally collapsed, and one big earthquake could make it even worse for them (and the rest of the world).

There is no reason not to negotiate for achievable aims. Negotiate an end to the state of war. Pay them off in exchange for opening their society, and agreeing to participate in international norms.

There is no point demanding denuclearization. That ship already left port. Bolton killed that prospect even deader by promoting The Libya Option. That approach met with a cool reception from Kim Jong Un, since the Libya Option ended with a dictator running for his life, hiding in a sewer pipe, and getting dragged out and shot on the spot.

We put ourselves behind the 8 ball by breaking a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran, even though everyone, including us and including our allies, agreed Iran was abiding by the terms of the agreement. There is not much point negotiating with the US anymore. Failures in trade talks with China, Canada, Mexico, and the EU, along with withdrawal from the TPP, hurt American interests even more.

Announcing we were calling off the summit without first informing the South Koreans made it even worse. Trump and his administration are incapable of representing US interests abroad.

But that doesn’t mean good things still can’t happen. They just won’t involve us. North Korea has every reason to pursue a deal. They have already been treated like a peer by Trump, and given the international recognition they crave. They have been rewarded for developing nuclear weapons. Now it is time to end the state of war, pay them off, and integrate them into the international system.

Once they come into contact with the world and become engaged, the dictatorship will fall.

Posted by: phx8 at May 26, 2018 10:10 AM
Comment #427374

Bolton didn’t do us any favors bringing up Obama’s failure in Libya. I’ll say that. However, the Korea’s are continuing to talk to each other. That is something they wouldn’t do under Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Eisenhower, and Truman.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 26, 2018 12:44 PM
Comment #427377

Yikes…phx8’s assessment of North Korea and Iran is scary indeed. We sure are glad his opinions don’t matter.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 26, 2018 3:07 PM
Comment #427378

Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong Un that sounded like a break up letter from a jilted teen age girl. That left everyone confused. Today the summit may be on again. It is uncertain. The North and South Koreans went ahead and met anyway today. Without us.

Trump and the GOP can not be counted on. They are unreliable. Trump and the GOP backed out of the Paris Climate Accord. We are the only country in the world not to participate. Literally. The only country in the world. And even then, it is not the majority of Americans that wanted that, just Trump and the GOP. In the last election Trump lost by 3 million votes, the House GOP garnered only 49% of the vote, and the Senate GOP just 42%. And yet, America’s reliability as a negotiating partner has been driven into the ground by an anti-science, militaristic faction. It will take a long time to recover, perhaps decades, as long as the rest of the world knows American Republicans might still walk away from any agreements, whether allies or adversaries, and whether on trade, nuclear non-proliferation, or climate. In the meantime, the rest of the world is abiding by trade agreements like TPP, the Iranian nuclear non-proliferation agreement, and the Paris agreement.

Now North and South Korea are demonstrating that, and it is the US on the outside. Trump is desperate for a win, desperate to be relevant. We’re on the outside, and our power to lead has been radically diminished- on trade, on nuclear non-proliferation, and in science.

Posted by: phx8 at May 26, 2018 3:23 PM
Comment #427379

Yikes…does our Pal phx8 understand the difference between an agreement (just the president) and a treaty (ratified by the US Senate)?

The Iranian “deal” couldn’t pass the senate as a treaty and old “Mr. Charisma” knew it. So he agreed to it all by his lonely.

The Paris “agreement” couldn’t pass the senate as a treaty either. A new sheriff comes to town and trashes a worthless agreement that would cost American taxpayers billions, curtail our economy and cause misery for millions while not affecting climate.

President Trump is dealing with the North Koreans. Watch and wonder phx8. You will be amazed by what a president with a backbone, and in the best interests of the world, can accomplish with a tyrant.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 26, 2018 3:36 PM
Comment #427381

Here is a list of treaties and agreements from 2017:

Notice something? They’re almost all agreements.

Treaties require 2/3 of the Senate for ratification. As that list shows, if the Senate tried to vote on every agreement to make it a treaty, they would spend their entire session doing nothing but voting on them. It’s impossible.

Furthermore, we leave foreign policy administration to the Executive Branch. Unlike the president, the Legislative Branch can not speak with one voice. If everything needed a 2/3 vote, the country would be paralyzed and unable to conduct any policies at all.

This isn’t a recent development. It isn’t even a matter of partisanship. The country relies on agreements as a practical matter, and as a matter of conducting a coherent policy that can be counted on from one administration to another.

Trump broke that. He broke it for no real reason other than he wanted to undo positive things done by Obama. Now we all have to live with the consequences; instead of achievements, we have one negotiation after another fall apart. The world didn’t stop in the meantime. It simply went on without us, whether it is with trade & the TPP, which the other 11 countries agreed, nuclear non-proliferation between Iran, China, Russia, Germany, the UK, & France, or Climate Change and the other 193 countries of the world. We are left diminished, our leadership in disrepair. Where once we led a global coalition promoting democracies and our ideals, we now have America First, America alone, pursuing our own self interests instead of a global coalition. We strengthen the hands of the Russians and Chinese.

Did you read that letter from Trump to Kim Jong Un? No man with backbone would write something like that. It was by any standard pathetic, even for a jilted teenage girl, never mind the leader of the free world.

Watch and wonder, indeed.

Posted by: phx8 at May 26, 2018 4:34 PM
Comment #427382

Ah yes, phx8 points out that the United States senate doesn’t have time to debate important concerns such as Iranian (nuclear ambitions, missile technology, terrorism) and committing the United States to billions of dollars in spending pursuing an insignificant affect on global climate.

Nope, the United States Senate is simply too busy with naming post offices and such, meddling in American citizens affairs, spending money we don’t have, and running to get reelected.

Unfortunately, the United States Senate has been found absent and derelict in performing its Constitutionally mandated role.

Is phx8 naive enough to believe the US Senate would have passed either the Iranian or Paris agreement if presented in treaty form? Even Obama knew this was unpopular and would not pass.

Why do you place such great emphasis on what other countries do phx8. We should follow Europe? We should follow Russia? We should follow China?

Please tell us who we should follow on the threat by North Korea. Who should we follow on the Middle East problems?

Liberals are followers when it suits their goals and harms America and her citizens.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 26, 2018 5:15 PM
Comment #427383

Take a look at what GW Bush did with treaties phx8.

“Although the Bush administration was criticized for its alleged lack of respect for international law, it had a particularly good record on seeking and obtaining treaty approvals. It secured Senate advice and consent for 163 treaties from 2001 to 2009. These included 20 treaties during the administration’s first two years and a record 90 treaties during its last two years — more treaties approved by the Senate than during any single previous Congress in U.S. history.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 26, 2018 5:31 PM
Comment #427384

From the linked article:

“Treaties approved by the Senate during the Bush years included more than a hundred bilateral agreements on such diverse subjects as the protection of polar bears in the Arctic and the return of stolen automobiles from Honduras. There were more than two dozen multilateral conventions on human rights, environmental and marine protection, arms control, nuclear proliferation, cybercrime and sports anti-doping rules. And senior Bush officials testified in favor of treaties restricting the involvement of children in armed conflicts, protecting the ozone layer and creating a marine preserve in the Caribbean.”

That article was from 2010. It is a good example of what bipartisanship can accomplish. Here is an article from 2016:

Obama definitely should have done more with his first two years. He concentrated on health care reform. I always thought that was a mistake. Not that it was unimportant. It definitely needed doing. But that was not the right issue to focus on at that time. He would have been better off passing an infrastructure bill. It would have sped up the economic recovery and created more goodwill for later legislative initiatives like health care reform.

Anyway, that is water under the bridge. The GOP Senate decided to block everything Obama did, including treaties, even treaties the GOP would ordinarily favor.

Posted by: phx8 at May 26, 2018 5:45 PM
Comment #427385

Yes phx8, Obama and the legislature spent way too much time on health care reform and the nation suffered.

Do you now understand that the Senate does indeed have time to vote on treaties?

Do you now understand why Obama did not present the Iranian agreement or the Paris Climate accord as treaties?

Do you now understand why President Trump has cancelled these two unpopular Obama agreements?

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 26, 2018 5:53 PM
Comment #427414

The last thing China wants is NK influenced by free nations.

Posted by: dbs at May 28, 2018 10:30 AM
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