Rice Hopes China Will Pressure Pyongyang
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Beijing today to convince Chinese officials to lean on North Korea to produce a complete nuclear declaration, reports Reuters. An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Rice hopes her visit will be:
“a real catalyst to get over this bar of a good declaration” and she particularly wanted help from China, the North’s major trading partner and traditional Communist ally. “We continue to believe that if anyone is capable of convincing the North that this kind of transparency is the only way forward, it’s the Chinese.”
Rice also hopes to convince China to convene a “Proliferation Security Initiative” (PSI), an institution to “ [to] organize countries in a voluntary but controversial program to share intelligence and interdict trade in weapons of mass destruction.” The real purpose of which would be to monitor North Korean nuclear and weapons proliferation after an agreement is inked. Reuters quotes one former official who expressed doubts about the feasibility of such a proposal:
Charles “Jack” Pritchard, a former U.S. negotiator with North Korea, said that by expanding the six-party process to cover such issues Washington hoped to “formalize discussion about what North Korea is up to regarding proliferation without having to twist arms to get the (others) to join PSI”. Japan, Russia and the United States are all members of PSI while China, South Korea and North Korea — one of the prime targets of the effort — are not. “I am less certain that North Korea will agree. It comes close to institutionalizing Pyongyang as a permanent defendant in the court of six-party talks,” Pritchard said.