US en­voys visit China on DPRK

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

Top US di­plo­mats are busy vis­it­ing China in a bid to push China to en­dorse tougher eco­nomic sanc­tions on North Korea af­ter its re­cent nu­clear test.

US Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day to meet with Chi­nese Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-For­eign Min­is­ter Zhang Ye­sui, a for­mer Chi­nese am­bas­sador to the US.

Blinken’s trip is be­lieved to be a prepa­ra­tion for a trip to Bei­jing on Jan 27 by Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei has de­scribed the meet­ing be­tween Zhang and Blinken as co-host­ing the in­terim Strate­gic Se­cu­rity Di­a­logue. The for­mal Strate­gic Se­cu­rity Di­a­logue is usu­ally held each sum­mer as part of the an­nual Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue, known as S&ED.

Blinken vis­ited Ja­pan and South Korea be­fore go­ing to China. The US and its two East Asia al­lies hope to push for a tougher UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion on fur­ther eco­nomic sanc­tions on North Korea.

One of the most sanc­tioned na­tions, North Korea is al­ready un­der UN sanc­tions for its three nu­clear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Hong said last Fri­day that China sup­ports the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in re­act­ing to North Korea’s nu­clear test. “The rel­e­vant res­o­lu­tion should fo­cus on de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula, preven­tion of nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion, as well as the peace and sta­bil­ity of North­east Asia,” he said.

Asked on Mon­day about North Korea’s state­ment about its pro­posal to stop nu­clear tests in ex­change for the US scrap­ping joint mil­i­tary drills with South Korea and the sign­ing of a peace treaty be­tween North Korea and the US, Hong said the Chi­nese side has al­ways aimed to ad­dress both the symp­toms and root causes of the Korean Penin­sula is­sue with a holis­tic ap­proach.

“We hope that all rel­e­vant par­ties can take a sober look at the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, stay on the path of re­solv­ing the is­sue through di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tions, meet each other half­way, prop­erly ad­dress each other’s con­cerns and strive for en­dur­ing peace and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion with a con­certed ef­fort,” he said.

All the in­di­ca­tions so far show Bei­jing lean­ing to­ward the sta­bil­ity leg of its pol­icy tool, and not the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion leg.”

Dou­glas Paal, vice-pres­i­dent for stud­ies and di­rec­tor of the Asia pro­gram at the Carnegie En­dow­ment for In­ter­na­tional Peace, said he is not very hope­ful for progress in China’s po­si­tion re­gard­ing North Korea.

“All the in­di­ca­tions so far show Bei­jing lean­ing to­ward the sta­bil­ity leg of its pol­icy tool, and not the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion leg,” he told China Daily on Tues­day.

“More­over, I sensed testi­ness in China’s re­sponses to Sec­re­tary Kerry’s im­petu­ous pub­lic re­marks about hav­ing tried China’s pol­icy ap­proach and declar­ing that it failed,” Paal added.

Kerry said in a phone con­ver­sa­tion with Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi early this month that China’s ap­proach to North Korea “has not worked and we can­not con­tinue busi­ness as usual,” a fin­ger-point­ing China has re­jected.

China has long called for the re­sump­tion of the Six-Party Talks to deal with the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula. The talks have been sus­pended since late 2008.

It is be­lieved that Tai­wan and the South China Sea will be other ma­jor top­ics for Blinken and Kerry in Bei­jing. The US State Depart­ment said Blinken will also meet Zhang Zhi­jun, di­rec­tor of the State Coun­cil’s Tai­wan Affairs Of­fice.

Paal be­lieves Blinken and Kerry will ex­press the US com­mit­ment to peace and sta­bil­ity across the Tai­wan Strait and see whether or not China will show any flex­i­bil­ity to­ward the new Tsai Ing­wen ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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