A consensus for peace

A silver lining is finally seen in the volatile region of the Pacific Rim. The very fact that the reclusive leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, went into talks with a senior Chinese envoy is quite heartening.

It indicates that diplomacy is at work, and the Peninsula could revert back from the brink. What comes as a reassurance is that both the communist allies are mending their fences and the communication gap is being addressed. Beijing, for quite some time had exhibited a hands-off policy with its ideological ally, perhaps seems to have realised the dire consequences for the region. Abandoning North Korea is tantamount to committing suicide, and it won’t help China even if proves beyond any doubt that it is on the same page with the capitalist West. Harnessing the Stalinist neighbour and maintaining influence over it would be China’s biggest strength. It would be myopic to let North Korea endanger regional and world peace by its adventurist stunts, as it demonstrated by landing artillery shells across the Armistice line in South Korea for the first time in more than five decades.

This episode of Kim-China talks could be a good beginning. The primary intention should be to broker a permanent accord between Seoul and Pyongyang, which should holistically address the security concerns of the South and the pestering issues of life and death for a collapsed northern economy. Kim’s problem is that he has to keep a nation, and one of the most obsessive military establishments of the world going, by catering to their needs and necessities. Mindless sanctions imposed on the North have only motivated its leadership to adopt a brinkmanship attitude, and has brought socio-economic miseries to an almost starving nation. This is why China holds the trump card for influencing its ally to adopt a course of action that would not only relieve it of economic concerns, but also win diplomatic recognition, which is Pyongyang’s foremost priority.

Notwithstanding pacification moves, what is of concern is the flexing of muscles on the part of the US and its allies. It seems Washington is bent upon selling new armament to Tokyo and Seoul, and furthering the insecurity pretext to advance its long-term strategic goals. The military exercises’ with South Korea was apparently a step in that direction. The West, which has for long been groping in the dark to streamline North Korea’s clandestine nuclear programme, will be taking a major risk if they believe that by arming Japan and South Korea a new détente could come in vogue. Pyongyang has exhibited time and again that it cares little for such prescriptions.

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