Tiller­son’s ra­tio­nal over­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

As if to cover up their own help­less­ness on the issue, some coun­tries have demon­strated a re­newed pen­chant for point­ing an ac­cus­ing fin­ger at China, al­leg­ing that China has not put enough pres­sure on the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea to rein in its nu­clear weapons pro­gram. As well as pro­vok­ing a new round of ve­he­ment crit­i­cism and con­dem­na­tion from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, the test-launch of a sec­ond in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile by the DPRK on Friday prompted Wash­ing­ton to once again claim Bei­jing is not ex­er­cis­ing the in­flu­ence it has over Py­ongyang.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted af­ter the launch that he was “very dis­ap­pointed” with China and Bei­jing was do­ing “noth­ing” to curb Py­ongyang’s nu­clear am­bi­tions.

Such ac­cu­sa­tions are un­fair, as they are to­tally un­founded. China is do­ing all it can and em­ploy­ing what­ever in­flu­ence it has. It has con­sis­tently and fully im­ple­mented UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions, and re­peat­edly urged the DPRK to re­spect the col­lec­tive will of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and cease any ac­tiv­i­ties that es­ca­late ten­sions.

Trump’s im­pli­ca­tion that Bei­jing is some­how at fault for the US’ cur­rent un­ease is sim­ply a re­flec­tion of what has been his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ac­cu­rate assess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion.

Which is why US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s lat­est re­marks on the issue are so wel­come; they sug­gest the US has adopted a more ra­tio­nal per­spec­tive.

At a US State Depart­ment brief­ing on Mon­day, Tiller­son said the US does not blame China for the es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions and the US is will­ing to sit down and ne­go­ti­ate with the DPRK over its nu­clear weapons pro­gram in co­or­di­na­tion with China.

Tiller­son’s re­marks hope­fully sig­nal Wash­ing­ton has adopted a more prag­matic ap­proach to the issue and it is will­ing to en­gage in di­a­logue with Py­ongyang in a bid to break the cur­rent im­passe.

No stake­holder can sin­gle-hand­edly re­solve the Korean Penin­sula issue. But in­stead of con­certed ef­forts to defuse the volatile ten­sions on the penin­sula, the fin­ger-point­ing has merely high­lighted the grow­ing di­ver­gences among stake­hold­ers on how to re­solve the issue, which has threat­ened to prompt reck­less moves that would ex­ac­er­bate the al­ready frag­ile sit­u­a­tion.

It is hoped the US will now make con­crete moves to trans­late Tiller­son’s words into action, and the DPRK will demon­strate its own sin­cer­ity to de-es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions.

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