Helps Mediate North Korean Nuclear Talks
August 29, 2003
Tied to North Korea
by shared communist heritage and shed blood, but pushed by 25 years of
evolution toward capitalism and internationalism, the Chinese government
finds itself in an unfamiliar position: mediator.
When representatives of China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia
and the United States begin talks in Beijing to defuse a nuclear dispute
between Washington and Pyongyang, in the middle will sit China, political
partner of one and economic ally of the other, entering a new phase in
its once-rigid foreign policy.
"China's role in the six-nations talks is far beyond simply being
a coordinator," said Zhao Gancheng, a professor at the Shanghai Institute
of Foreign Studies.
"China has its own interests in this issue- regional stability and
a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula," Zhao said in an interview. "The
Chinese government's goals have not changed. But it has certainly made
some adjustments in the way it wants to achieve those goals."
has been dodging the dispute between the United States and North Korea,
saying it was up to them to solve. But pressured by Washington and probably
by Pyongyang as well, Beijing has come around and agreed to host the talks,
which South Korea, Japan and Russia will also attend.
No one else could host the meeting, really. North Korea has too many problems
with South Korea and Japan, and considers Beijing, something of a communist
big brother. North Korea considers the friendliest terrain available in
the region to be China.