Is Pyongyang Serious About Returning To Six-Party Talks?
Will North Korea Return To Six-Party Talks?
This week North Korea sent Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae as a special envoy to China, a move viewed as a positive step toward renewal of talks about its weapons program. While Choe spoke in general terms about returning to the negotiating table, he offered no specifics.
Richard C. Bush III of the Brookings Institution is not impressed with Pyongyang’s recent gestures. He contends it is “all part of Pyongyang’s playbook. We have seen these peace offensives before. The crucial question now is the basis on which North Korea might be willing to negotiate.”
Furthermore, he notes, the goal of the US is not to secure talks for the sake of having talks, but “It has been to induce Pyongyang to understand that it can only have a normal relationship with the international community if it credibly undertakes a fundamental change in policy: regarding nuclear weapons, its relations with South Korea, its role in the region, and its domestic system. North Korea’s latest and predictable shift to diplomacy does not in any way guarantee that change in policy (it may indicate, however, that sanctions are beginning to work).”
There is one area of agreement among analysts – China must play a role in the negotiations for progress to be made.
The Camp David Accords: Did They Actually Impact History Christian Caryl, a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute, has just written a new book, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century, chronicling some of the most influential events of that year. Interestingly, he has omitted one event known to many as historic – the signing of the Camp David Accords.
As important as the agreement between Israel and Egypt was, Caryl argues that the events on which he chose to focus “didn’t just change the world. They also changed something far more fundamental: the very terms in which we think about global politics and economics.”
Furthermore, he says, the Accords did nothing to change “anything fundamental about the terms of dispute in the Middle East,” a point reflected in the fact that 34 years later, “the majority of Egyptians still disapprove of the peace agreement; 89 percent of Egyptians say that they have a “very unfavorable” view of their neighbors to the north.”
Lessons For Today’s China In The History Of The Great Famine
Historian and former editor of China’s Xinhua News Service Yang Jisheng has written a new book detailing the famine which plagued his nation from 1958 to 1962. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Yang says there are parallels between today’s government and that which reigned through fear and vast power during the famine. He does note that there is more intellectual freedom today, but the reason for it is not quite noble.
“Put simply, the regime needs some people to have a degree of intellectual
freedom, in order to more perfectly maintain its dictatorship over everyone else,” says Bret Stephens, who conducted the interview.
To move forward, says Yang, China and its people have to acknowledge its past, including the horrors of the famine. “If a people cannot face their history, these people won’t have a future. That was one of the purposes for me to write this book. I wrote a lot of hard facts, tragedies. I wanted people to learn a lesson, so we can be far away from the darkness, far away from tragedies, and won’t repeat them.”