Distancing North Korea from China; America’s Biden Strategy

2021/07/13 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - A university professor described the signals exchanged between Washington and Pyongyang as indicating a desire to reduce tensions between the two countries, saying: It seems that the United States will take these messages seriously and take steps in this direction; because getting countries out of “China’s strategic embrace” is one of America’s current strategies.

Dr. Nozar Shafiei, speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, referred to the recent positions of the United States and North Korea regarding the start of negotiations between the two countries, noting: The relationship between the United States and North Korea should be defined under the US-China relationship; in fact, a big game for the future of the world with the focus on these two countries should be imagined and in that context, the position of North Korea should be analyzed.

Saying that China and the United States are pursuing a strategy of finding allies and separating them from others, he said: The big game has just begun and is a sign of rivalry and tensions between China and the United States. China is trying to recruit from countries around the world, as we see through the “Belt and Road Initiative”, and the United States is doing so in other ways, including the “Blue Dot Network” strategy.

Referring to the efforts of Trump and Biden to send positive messages to North Korea, the Asian affairs analyst continued: Removing the countries from “China’s strategic embrace” is one of the current US strategies that somehow includes North Korea, but certainly a relationship that has experienced some 70 years of stress is not easy to repair.

Expression of desire to reduce tensions between US, North Korea

Shafiei reiterated the United States readiness to negotiate with North Korea at any time and any place, as well as the position of the North Korean leader, who said remarks by Washington officials showed the Biden administration’s determination to maintain a hostile policy against Pyongyang and preparations should be made for dialogue and said: Signs are being sent between Washington and Pyongyang that they want to reduce tensions. Of course, there is no doubt that the relationship between China and North Korea is very strong, strategic and mysterious, and it is very difficult to separate the two countries, but in any case, the Americans are taking a step in this direction.

At the same time, he clarified: North Korea is in fear and hope in this regard; on the one hand, they are concerned that structural dependence on China and the continuation of current isolation will not ultimately achieve much. This encourages Pyongyang to think more about the external environment, but it is highly ambiguous about the future and worries about the consequences of improving relations with the United States on its relations with China.

Referring to remarks by the North Korean leader’s sister that they wanted to negotiate with the United States, but they should not think that the negotiations are due to weakness, he said: Such remarks are not insignificant in the ongoing tensions between the United States and North Korea and it certainly indicate that the frozen relations between the two countries are improving.

Shafiei also referred to North Korean foreign minister’s remarks that ‘we are not looking for pointless and fruitless negotiations’ and implicitly considered holding “real talks” still possible, adding that China is a major issue for the United States in the world to come and it is worried about the transfer of power to China and the beginning of the Chinese century. Therefore, any strategy is resorted to prevent this issue. Undoubtedly, it has a special focus on North Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan and Iran, and is trying to bring those four countries to its side.

Noting that the US security presence in the world, especially around China, is much stronger, he said: The reaction of North Korean officials indicates a desire to start some kind of negotiation and improve relations, although this may be real or tactical.

US will take detente messages seriously

He added: It seems that the United States will take those messages seriously and take steps in this direction, and even if we do not hear any news about this in the press, secret and diplomatic talks will definitely take place in the lower layers.

Regarding Trump’s criticism of North Korea’s policies and the failure of negotiations between them, as well as the failure of the Biden administration to present a new approach and plan in this regard, Shafiei said: Trump has taken the right path in terms of major American policies, but his character wanted totalitarianism and believed that North Korea should be disarmed and that the United States should not make any security concessions, but Biden will do so.

The university professor stressed: Diplomacy is not black or white, and the United States and North Korea, in addition to demonstrating the power of their negotiations, cannot break the taboos that have kept the two countries apart for 70 years and have penetrated public opinion and especially ignore the negative image created in the minds of the North Korean people. So even if there is a serious desire, it will not happen easily and quickly.

Shafiei added: Certainly, the United States has such a plan to negotiate with North Korea, given the news and developments it receives from Pyongyang and the signs and symptoms and even the words it hears from the leaders of South Korea and Japan. This is not a move for waste of time, but a strategic move to contain its most important competitor in the world to come.

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