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Key elements in China’s Communist Party, military, and business circles have steered China’s North Korea policy toward achieving stability and strengthening ties to Pyongyang, complicating U.S. efforts to enlist China’s help at reining in North Korean provocations.
John Park, a senior program officer who directs the Korea Working Group, analyzes prospects for the July 28-29 U.S.-North Korea “exploratory” meeting in New York. After more than two years of “strategic patience” exercised by the United States in not rushing into negotiations with North Korea without its firm commitment to denuclearization, why is this bilateral meeting taking place now?
North Korea shows no signs of making policy changes that would either lessen its need for international food aid or ensure that all the aid is delivered to those in greatest need, a panel of specialists said at a May 5 event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
Latest from USIP on North Korea
- April 18, 2013 | Publication
John Park, a senior Asia adviser at USIP, says China is exploring how to modify its North Korea policy because of concern that the recent explosive rhetoric and potential South Korean and/or U.S. responses to North Korean actions could lead to a dangerous region-wide escalation.
- February 12, 2013 | Publication
North Korea on February 12 conducted a third nuclear test blast, drawing immediate global condemnation. USIP has several recent resources discussing the North's proliferation activities.
- January 25, 2013 | Publication
It is a recurring pattern. North Korea takes a provocative step to advance its weapons programs or confront its adversaries. Its actions are condemned by the international community. Then Pyongyang doubles down and vows another tough response, often entailing another act of proliferation. USIP’s Mike Lekson considers the challenges of the North’s nuclear and missile proliferation.
- January 25, 2013 | News Releases
The United States Institute of Peace releases Detect, Dismantle, and Disarm: IAEA Verification, 1992-2005, by Christine Wing and Fiona Simpson. This book chronicles the IAEA’s experience when faced with revelations of a state’s hidden nuclear program. Analysis of four cases—Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Libya—reveals how verification has worked in practice and captures lessons useful for future missions.
USIP conducts ongoing research and policy analysis on major developments on the Korean Peninsula through three Track 1.5 projects – the Korea Working Group (KWG), the U.S. China Project on Crisis Avoidance and Cooperation (PCAC), and the U.S.-ROK-Japan Trilateral Dialogue in Northeast Asia (TDNA). Based on key findings from CAP's ongoing research interviews with Asian government think tank counterparts, KWG director Dr. John Park conducts regular briefings for senior Congressional staffers and officials at the State Department and the Pentagon. Recent briefings focused on:
- China's supporting role in accelerated North Korean leadership succession process via the Communist Party of China-Workers' Party of Korea channel - a largely underexamined relationship with major implications for the U.S.' North Korea policy;
- Beijing's "Sunshine Policy with Chinese Characteristics;"
- the motivations for and limitations of Beijing's efforts to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula following North Korea's artillery attack on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island.
The Current Situation
On June 3, North Korea revealed that it had been engaged in South Korea-initiated secret talks. South Korea acknowledged that these talks had taken place in Beijing, but denied North Korea’s claim that South Korean officials had offered bribes for an inter-Korean summit. North Korea declared that it would not deal with the Lee Myung-bak administration for the remainder of its term. The significance of this development is that it derails Beijing’s threestage proposal for resuming the stalled Six-Party Talks. Stage one called for an improvement in inter-Korean relations. Stage two set out U.S.-North Korea talks. Stage three envisioned the culmination of this process with a restart of the Six-Party Talks. While this is a disappointment for Seoul in its efforts to improve inter-Korean ties, this is also a major setback for Beijing’s plan to facilitate a resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Chinese leaders are concerned that if they remain deadlocked, the region will become more unstable, particularly in light of the North Korean provocations against the South last year.