Getting to the Point: What won’t help when Trump talks DPRK with Xi
By CGTN’s Liu Xin
I’m Liu Xin and this is Getting to the Point.
US President Donald Trump will discuss the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to China starting on November 8. The White House said President Trump will urge President Xi to make good on his commitments to pressure the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Here are a few thoughts on what actions will help in the meeting, and what will not.
First, it is essential for the two to sit down on a sofa, look into each other’s eyes and understand each other. China has repeated its position on the issue – a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and the next steps to get there, including a double suspension approach, for both sides of the conflict to cool down. All these seem to have fallen on deaf ears. It is therefore imperative that President Xi, in his own words, explains to President Trump what China thinks and why. For President Trump, to listen and listen carefully would be helpful.
Secondly, the US also needs to explain to China what its strategy is on the DPRK. So far, there have been conflicting messages coming out of the White House and the various departments, for instance, when President Trump asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to waste time negotiating with the DPRK. President Trump also needs to explain to President Xi whether the US has a coherent strategy and how it can work, for China to offer its help.
Thirdly, it would help if the two leaders could come to some initial agreement between themselves on how to approach the matter in the future. It would be instrumental if the US and China could coordinate their efforts in good faith and transparently, for the game of naming and shaming to make room for real diplomacy.
Then, there are a few things that won’t help. It won’t help to continue making China a scapegoat for the escalation in tensions. It won’t help to link China’s "performance" on the issue to measures related to China-US trade. It won’t help to cling onto Beijing’s deepening sanctions as the only way to rein in the DPRK. Sanctions alone won’t work. History has shown all too clearly. It won’t help to dwell on some isolated trade figures while ignoring the overall trend of shrinking trade between China and the DPRK. And it certainly won’t help to send more military assets to the region and use more harsh language against DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. It would only invite more defiance and further rebuttals that send even linguists to the dictionaries.
If you ask someone to help you with a task, don’t make it more difficult at the same time. On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, China’s help will only work if the US and the DPRK make serious and constructive efforts.
President Trump, it’s never too late to come to the right track. By the way, the warmest welcome to Beijing!
This is Liu Xin, getting to the point. Follow me on twitter or facebook using the handle @thepointwithlx. If you like this piece, share it!