Shifting Paradigms in US, China and Taiwan Relations
Edited by Peter C.Y. Chow
Chapter 12: North Korea’s Nuclear Threat and its Impact on Taiwan’s Security
Richard D. Fisher INTRODUCTION The year 2005 began with the prospect of diplomatic exhaustion forcing a frustrated President George W. Bush to move toward sanctions to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. But the year has ended with the Bush administration signing a China-brokered ‘Joint Statement’ that promises to give North Korea and China multiple opportunities to delay North Korea’s ultimate surrender of its nuclear capabilities, thus expanding Beijing’s leverage over the future of the Korean peninsula. Beset by an ongoing commitment to build democracy in Iraq, it does not appear that the US is ready to shoulder another military confrontation, especially when its South Korean ally has no interest in such. When examining North Korea’s challenge, the positions of China and Taiwan oﬀer real contrasts. While China’s unprecedented 2003 diplomatic initiative and its renewed activism in mid-2005 to corral North Korea into negotiations deserves credit, it is also clear that Beijing cannot yet bring itself to be rid of the Pyongyang’s Communist regime, which might call into question the legitimacy of its own. Having played a signiﬁcant role in making North Korea a nuclear missile threat, China remains its chief economic and diplomatic guarantor. Beijing has repeatedly pressed Washington to compromise its security interests to sustain a dialog, albeit an active one, but which still has not demonstrated an assured path to North Korean nuclear disarmament. The new September 2005 Joint Statement may only serve to allow North Korea to delay any real nuclear...
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