Dispel Distrust: Start from North Korea

By Zhiqun Zhu

A response to this piece written by Nicole Golliher can be found here.

Abstract:The United States and China lack political trust despite repeated reassurances from each side. A case in point is the U.S. pivot to Asia, which many in China consider a U.S. strategy to counter China’s growing power. On the other hand, no matter how often the Chinese government repeats its “peaceful rise” mantra, many in the United States cite China’s aggressive treatment of territorial disputes for their belief that its rise will destabilize the region.

How to bridge such perceptional and policy gaps? Actions speak louder than words. The two countries can start to dispel their political distrust by working jointly now to find a solution to the North Korea nuclear dilemma. The United States and China share the objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, but have different concerns about and visions of the Peninsula. They can begin by reaching an agreement about a future East Asian security landscape that does not harm their vital interests. With assistance from other relevant players, the United States and China can bring the North Korea issue to a satisfactory conclusion, building political trust in the process and laying the foundation for further cooperation in the future.

About the Author: Zhiqun Zhu is Director of the China Institute and an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Bucknell University. He is the author and editor of 7 books including China’s New Diplomacy: Rationale, Strategies and Significance (Ashgate, 2013); and U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century: Power Transition and Peace (Routledge, 2006). He was a visiting senior research fellow at East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore, and a POSCO fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii. In the early 1990s, he was Chief Assistant to the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai.

Photo by Roman Harak is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image cropped.

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