Hu-Obama Summit: Implications for Managing North Korea
February 2, 2011
Both North and South Koreans appear to have had disproportionately high expectations in the run-up to last week’s Hu-Obama summit, judging from their reluctant willingness to edge toward tension reduction and dialogue following the November 23rd Yeonpyeong Island artillery shelling and high tensions surrounding South Korea’s live-fire exercises on December 20th. In anticipation of potential improvements in Sino-U.S. coordination, North Korea launched a diplomatic charm offensive during the first two weeks of January. South Korea finally responded shortly following the Hu-Obama summit with proposals for inter-Korean military talks and talks to address nuclear issues. The Sino-U.S. Joint Statement provided a push to the two Koreas by calling for “sincere and constructive inter-Korean dialogue” and by explicitly mentioning enriched uranium as an item that should be on the agenda of renewed Six Party Talks, but the joint statement also exposes clear limits to Sino-U.S. agreement on how to approach North Korea.
The Sino-U.S. Joint Statement fails to explicitly mention UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, and does not explicitly reiterate the need for stepped up counter-proliferation and export control efforts focused on preventing the transfer of fissile material-related technologies or know-how. This is a significant omission, given that China’s role in implementing an effective counter-proliferation program toward North Korea is critical. The statement also failed to explicitly mention or attribute responsibility for “recent developments” that have heightened tension on the Korean peninsula. There is no indication of agreement on a further UN role in addressing tensions on the Korean peninsula. The statement does not explicitly define “necessary steps” that would enable a return to the Six Party Talks process, indirectly underscoring the absence of a viable jointly-agreed process for achieving the shared objective of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
This piece was originally published on the Council on Foreign Relations blog Asia Unbound.
Scott Snyder directs The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. He can be reached at [email protected].
About our blog, In AsiaIn Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia's development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.
In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about In Asia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
THE LATEST ACROSS ASIA
Deutsche Welle: Asia bids farewell to Barack Obama
January 20, 2017
Q&A: Minister Han Sung-Joo on Korea’s Constitutional Crisis & President Trump
January 18, 2017
Reflecting on 17 Years as Country Representative in the Philippines
January 18, 2017
Asian Views on America’s Role in Asia: Special Events in Asia
Asian Views on America's Role in Asia
Recommendations for the Incoming U.S. President on Policy Towards Asia