New approach: South Korea and China strategy for North Korea
North Korea is a burden of sort to China, one that causes more trouble maybe than it’s worth.
What would happen if South Korea invited China to Seoul to discuss what to do with North Korea? China could have much to gain by working with the South Koreans as both represent markets for one another. A repressive North Korean regime has outlived its usefulness. A South Korea and China partnership approach to North Korea whereby both could share some of the burden with the intent to develop a more hospitable government. The debate doesn’t have to be about the form of the system, communism versus free enterprise as it is about a democratic process toward establishing responsible government.
The goal would be to reduce military tensions and restore peace to the region whereby North Koreans are actively a part of the process, though where facilitation comes from more leadership on the part of a unified China and South Korea approach.
The US has a role in the process too, but more as a facilitator and supporter. Leading from behind can be an effective strategy.
“China: Korea tensions may 'spin out of control'
U.S. calls on Beijing to 'send a clear message to North ... that its provocations are unacceptable'
BEIJING — China is worried tensions in the Korean peninsula could spiral out of control if not dealt with properly, President Hu Jintao told U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday in their first discussion of the situation since North Koreashelled the South nearly two weeks ago.
The White House said Obama, in a telephone call with Hu, urged Beijing to work with the United States and others to "send a clear message to North Korea that its provocations are unacceptable." Later in the day in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts talks with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts to discuss the deadly North Korean attack on a South Korean island.
China, the chair of stalled international nuclear talks with Pyongyang, is not invited. However, the Washington troika are expected to discuss Beijing's proposal for emergency regional talks on the crisis.
Meanwhile, South Korea conducted naval firing drills just a day after North Korea warned such exercises would aggravate already high tensions between the rivals.
Pyongyang said the drills, expected to last around a week, showed the South was "hell-bent" on setting off a war.
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"Especially with the present situation, if not dealt with properly, tensions could well rise on the Korean peninsula or spin out of control, which would not be in anyone's interest," Hu said, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
"The most pressing task at present is to calmly deal with the situation," Hu added, according to the ministry's website.
China has faced calls from the United States and its allies to do more to rein in its ally North Korea after the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island, which killed four people.
Hu said China expressed "deep regret" about the deaths. Beijing has refused to apportion blame for the incident.
"We need an easing (of tensions), not a ratcheting up; dialogue, not confrontation; peace, not war," Hu was quoted as telling Obama.
Tensions have risen to their highest level in decades on the peninsula after the Yeonpyeong attack, which came days after the North revealed it had made significant advances in its nuclear program.
Analysts say Pyongyang's latest provocations could be driven by a number of factors including internal politics and its time-honored practice of using threats and violence for leverage to win aid at talks.
Two years ago, North Korea walked out of aid-for disarmament talks — which had brought together the two Koreas, host China, the United States, Japan and Russia.
Pyongyang has said it wants to restart the talks, and has won the backing of Beijing and Moscow. But Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have said they will only return to the negotiating table when the North shows it is sincere about denuclearizing.
"China has always believed that dialogue and negotiations are the only right way to resolve North Korean nuclear-related issues and to realize long lasting peace on the peninsula," Hu said.”