North Korea, the Obama Trip, and China’s Dilemmas

AFP has a very worthwhile article which describes the very explicit diplomatic strategy being discussed on President Obama’s Air Force One en route to Southeast Asia:

“We’ve had a dialogue with the Burmese government about the need to reduce their relationship with North Korea,” Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor said on Air Force One as Obama flew to Asia.

“We’ve seen them take some positive steps in that direction. And what we’d like to see, again, is an end to the relationship that has existed between Burma and North Korea.”

For about an hour of discussion about these and other Asian issues by Ben Rhoads’ boss, the National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, a CSIS speech is carried on C-Span.

And, lest we forget, the DPRK recently reaped food aid from Cambodia and Indonesia.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Hongcai reaps some symbolic grain outside of Pyongyang, October 2012 | Image courtesy PRC Embassy in North Korea

In the realm of China’s power transition, Damien Ma, a frequent contributor at The Atlantic and a fluent China analyst, breaks down a few dozen questions on Xi Jinping and China’s present and future.  This video runs about 36 minutes and is actually highly entertaining (a substantial portion of the callers seem to take Donald Trump as an authority on American foreign policy while believing that Damien Ma is representing the Chinese government, which he [referring to both Trump and Ma] is decidedly not!).

If textual exegisis is your thing, you might join me in reading Hu Jintao’s extensive work report at the 18th Party Congress. Here are a couple of sample quotes from the full text that pertain nicely to the current Myanmar dilemma that the PRC is facing:

Finally, with reference to the power transition in Beijing, having read a few thousand tweets by the Western reporters there in the Great Hall of the People at the 18th Party Congress, I thought this Xinhua page was apropos.  Of course, no one had better insight so far as I am concerned into the outlook for Xi Jinping than my friend Sidney Rittenberg, who happens also to be the first Westerner to have prognosticated that the now-purged (and perhaps hunger-striking) Bo Xilai might be in a bit of trouble.

Visualizing the Party Congress

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