After conferring with Russia, China, today [28 November 2010], hastily called for a press conference in Beijing of all parties in the stalled six party talks, to meet in an emergency consultations, in order to defuse the mounting tensions on the divided Korean peninsula.
South Korea's immediate response was negative, but it quickly back tracked by saying that it would study the proposal. Its refusal would have shown a poor light on Seoul who is claiming the high moral ground on the recent exchange of gunfire between the South and the North. Japan took administrative cover: it will first discuss China's call with its allies in Washington and Seoul and then decide. The US, which has been leaning heavily on China to rein in its ally North Korea, remained silent.
In the background, today began a four day major joint military South Korea and US exercises a safe 120 km from the NLL [Northern Limit Line] and the island of Yeonpyeong. A mini armada of ships composed of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and other naval battle stations joined three South Korean naval formations. They are engaging in a blustery military display of 'might'. This pretense of bravery is yet another warning to North Korea to change its behaviour, without a hint of changing their own hostile actions toward Pyongyang.
Typically the US and South Korea with Japan in tow will hardly deviate from its proven policy of the last few years of bringing North Korea to its knees. This goal has not escaped GuamDiary's eye in parsing Lee Myung bek's government revised response to China's proposition: North Korea has to make goodwill gestures in downgrading and dismantling its sophisticated nuclear programme. Seoul's position is, in substance and form, aligned with US demands.
Seoul's weary repetition of 'sine qua non' non negotiable conditions leads GuamDiary to conclude that the Seoul-Washington-Toyko axis will undermine China's proposal for renewed talks and negotiations, yet nonetheless will go through the motions to quiet renewed fears of war in Korea.
Let's look at what were the six party talks. Under the Clinton administration, discussions between the US and North Korea on Pyongyang's nuclear programme made headaway, albeit unevenly. When George Bush came to the White House, his cohort branded North Korea an 'axis of evil', in order to show that as the only superpower, small fries like North Korea should not challenge its will.
The mad men who dreamed up this course of action did not succeed either in isolating the North or stopping its nuclear programme. Concurrently with a hard line tack towards North Korea, the Bush administration also so disliked the Kim Dae Jung and Noh Moo hyung governments in Seoul, who persisted in pursuing the 'Sunshine Policy' towards the North, it did everything to treat it more like a conquered colony than an ally.
Nonetheless, looking to close down North Korea's nuclear facility at Yongbyon, the more especially since Pyongyang exploded a nuclear device thanks to the Bush perverse policy, the US came up with the idea of a six party discussion: China, Russia, Japan, the US, South and North Korea would meet in Beijing to find ways to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. This idea was so devised that it would look as though it were North Korea's neighbours and not the US who were suing for an end to North Korea's nuclear ambitions. How could the mighty US deign to talk directly to an 'axis of evil' state?
It also contained the germ for stalemating the talks, thereby allowing the US to escape its historical responsibility arising from a frozen Korean War, of dealing with North Korea. For the six parties would split into two groups: on one side, the US, South Korea, and Japan, and on the other, China, Russia, and North Korea. The Washington-Seoul-Tokyo axis would opt for such stringent proposals that Pyongyang would be forced to quit the talks. Which North Korea did.
With the arrival of the Lee Myung bek government in 2008, the Bush administration found an ideal partner for bashing North Korea. And the on again, off again six party talks in Beijing adjourned 'sine dia'. Consequently, the Washington and Seoul drew a line in the sand which Pyongyang dismissed by not recognising it.
Thus, matters lay in limbo until the sinking of the South Korean corvette the 'Cheonan' in March 2010, and joint US and South Korean military exercises began taking place, based on a calculus to force North Korea to commit a warlike action.
Last weekend Pyongyang responded to the shelling of its waters by South Korea which set the region on edge and sent shock waves throughout the world. It again war was possible in Korea 57 years after guns there were silenced by an Armistice Agreement.
So, in a round about way, GuamDiary is led back to conditions imitiating conditions on the eve of the Korean War in 1950. It, therefore, uncovers the thinking that lay behind the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] special study by 23 American North Korean clercs, who called for the revival of the US military policy of 'roll back' which wipe North Korea off the map.
China and Russia would not go along. What is clear is the duplicity of the Obama administration which on one hand is pressuring China to corral North Korea and on the other, encourages South Korea to pursue its ever aggressive policy towards the North.
Either way, the US is engaging in in a confused political and military policy which may spell disaster and end in serious military confrontation.
US policy is absurdly inefficient and dangerous. It is trying to farm off its responsibilities to solve long standing differences with the North stemming from the Korean War. It derogates its responsibility, too, to seek an ending to that war and negotiate a peace treaty directly with North Korea and its Chinese ally, and find ways for the North to denuclearise which Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong il have in word and in written statement affirmed.