[EDITORIALS]Cold calculationsThe Bank of China is said to have frozen North Korean bank accounts. That’s the second such attack on North Korean finances; Washington threatened financial sanctions on Banco Delta Asia, a Macao bank, which then froze North Korean bank accounts.
Then three North Koreans who entered an American diplomatic compound in Shenyang, China were allowed to go the United States, the first such U.S.-China-North Korea case. These measures are the first signs that many nations are reconsidering their policies toward the North and are worthy of attention.
The United States and China have been at odds over their policy toward North Korea; Washington has hoped that China would put more pressure on the North. China has not complied with Washington’s demands; it fears that a shaky North Korea could threaten Beijing’s national interests in a stable Korean Peninsula. So the recent measures by China are signs of at least some willingness to cooperate with the U.S. strategy of pressuring the North. Recent remarks by Christopher Hill were also interesting; he said Washington would not draw up policies opposing China’s interests if there were some change in the situation in North Korea or on the Korean Peninsula.
We also have to pay attention to remarks by China’s president, Hu Jintao, at a meeting with U.S. President Bush in April. He said the two nations should be constructive and cooperative partners in a global dimension.
Fundamentally the United States and China have begun to “cooperate and compete” over issues such as the future of the Korean Peninsula. And what has Seoul done? Very little indeed, except for useless work.
The Roh administration has played down the meaning of the United Nations resolution responding to North Korea’s missile launch. Instead it is predicting that China will take a policy position in opposition to the United States and Japan, and has therefore tried to stay synchronized with Beijing’s policies, even though Beijing doesn’t appear to be heading on Seoul’s predicted course.
It has not escaped the simple thoughts that has made it blind to international currents, and has persisted on an anti-U.S. and anti-Japanese course while cozying up to China.
The administration should listen to the wisdom of a former foreign minister, Yoon Young-kwan, who commented that diplomacy should not be conducted on the basis of emotion and sensitivity, but with cold calculation.