China Refuses to Be ‘Marginalized’ in U.S.-North Korea Nuclear Talks

US, China agree to keep pressure on North Korea
AFP Jung Yeon-je

In an editorial published by the state-run Global Times on Friday, China refused to be “marginalized” as U.S. President Donald Trump considers direct talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The paper claimed that Trump and Kim’s tentative agreement to talk proves that “China’s efforts worked.”

The Global Times insists China deserves credit for the diplomatic breakthrough because it has always been “pushing for a direct dialogue between North Korea and the U.S.” and calling for a “dual-track approach,” by which China means the U.S. agreeing to suspend military cooperation with South Korea that alarms and enrages North Korea.

China also happens to dislike the powerful radar systems the United States has been installing in South Korea as part of the THAAD missile defense system since those sensors can look deep into Chinese territory as well as North Korea.

The Global Times editorial blames North Korea’s provocative nuclear tests for souring relations with China, and insists that the Chinese government will “uphold the authority of the U.N. Security Council” while also doing what it can to “help protect the rights of North Korea when Pyongyang begins denuclearization talks with Washington.”

The writers go out of their way to dispute the notion that China is ready to toss Kim Jong-un aside because Chinese leaders don’t like him or think he is crazy. “China-North Korea ties will improve when the nuclear issue is settled,” the paper predicts.

The Global Times repeatedly insists that China no longer has any great influence over North Korea—aside from the general aura of awesomeness that hangs over China thanks to its “increasing national strength,” of course—and cannot be held responsible for Pyongyang’s misdeeds or expected to “lead the efforts to solve the peninsula problem.”

The overall thrust of the editorial, therefore, is that China is responsible for nothing, can be held accountable for nothing, and has never done anything wrong with respect to North Korea, but it also refuses to be pushed aside when (and if) Kim talks to Trump, because North Korea sits on the Chinese border and its fate will impact China’s interests.

“China will welcome the dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea, and resolutely support North Korea securing its due interests in the process of denuclearization. Through these efforts, China’s interests will not be pushed aside,” the editorial concludes.


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