Hill: China Should Stop Six-Party Sloganeering

Chris Green  |  2011-01-15 21:17
[imText1]China's calls for a return to the Six-Party Talks have become less of a policy and more of a slogan, according to Christopher Hill, the former U.S. chief negotiator to the North Korean denuclearization forum under the Bush administration.

In a lecture Friday afternoon at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, Hill called for Beijing to stop parroting that slogan, review more seriously how its relations with South Korea and other states in Northeast Asia are served by its policy on North Korea, and think about how to deal with a nuclear program that can't be allowed to stand.

The problem China has right now, Hill asserted, is far more serious than the problem of how many refugees might come across the border.

North Korea is more unstable than it has ever been, Hill said he believes,with an economy that is weaker than ever and an ongoing political and succession crisis that only adds urgency to the situation.

It is not to be ruled out, he went on, that in this second decade of this millennium we could see a situation where North Korea is not around by the end of the decade, but adding that in the midst of this serious situation the diversity of different actors in China's internal politics that are relevant in its dealings with North Korea are creating a situation in which there is no consensus on what to do, and frankly no willingness to step out and do something.

(We should think) in terms of how we can show patience to the Chinese, and at the same time convince them to step up and take a tough decision on North Korea, Hill concluded, adding that the Chinese probably don't want to talk about this today, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't repeat what we want to say, and repeat it often.

Asked whether his suggestions were realistic by Professor Choi Kang of the Institute of Foreign Affairs & National Security, and if so whether the upcoming U.S.-China Summit might be a turning point, Hill stated, I believe there'll be an effort to find a way forward, but could go no further than to add, I have every expectation that the United States will make it very clear that a level of effort is needed with respect to North Korea.
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