Big deal No. 1: China’s foreign minister said Saturday his government has urged North Korea to stop with its nuclear weapons program that threatens to spark a murderous rumble in Northeast Asia.
Here’s what’s most amazing to people who’ve been watching China since Mao Tse-tung (the baddest of bad guys) defeated the authoritarian anticommunist Chiang Kai-shek (our guy) in 1949. The People’s Daily Online, the official organ of China’s communist government, reported this on Saturday: “The China side pressed the North Korea side to deal calmly with the new U.N. Security Council resolution regarding North Korea, and to stop the missile tests, and even nuclear research, which violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the international community.”
I know; I had to read it again too.
This means Chinese President Xi Jinping did what we — well, what I and President Trump and a few hundred million other Americans — wanted him to do. You bet it’s something of a surprise that Mr. Xi would try to slap some sense into North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un, given his resentment over having been publicly chastised by President Trump for not leaning hard enough on Pyongyang.
Big Deal No. 2: The United Nations Security Council on Saturday voted unanimously to block Kimland from exporting $1 billion worth of stuff.
Mr. Xi’s China and President Vladimir Putin’s Russia both voted for the Security Council resolution. Did what?
Back in the bad old days of the Cold War, the Communist bloc was just that, a bloc of nations that stuck together, foiling wherever and whenever possible any freedom-promoting resolutions by the Free World.
The Soviet Union has since shrunk to something that calls itself the “Russian Federation” and is no longer officially communist. But that doesn’t exactly mean the current iteration of Mother Russia plays for our team in the democratic vs. authoritarian international games, any more than the earlier versions of Russia did.
But the ties that once bound the Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang team are apparently frayed fatally. Emphasis on “apparently.”
Big Deal No. 3: The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila on Saturday cited North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic-missile test last month and a nuclear weapon test last year in expressing “grave concern over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula.” That’s a win for our side.
Guess who this outfit’s members are. None other than Vietnam (still technically communist but moving our way and yes, the once-divided nation where 58,000 Americans were killed in action to keep figurative dominoes from falling), Cambodia (pound for pound, riel for riel, once the vilest, most bloodthirsty communist dictatorship anywhere on earth), Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Myanmar (which you and I knew as “Burma”).
We appear to have pretty much the world with us on this Kim-nuke thing, but there’s always the possibility that these the smartly dressed Mr. Xi is winking at his Pyongyang pal. Beijing might simply be conning us into making concessions on other matters — Taiwan’s independence, those meddlesome islands the Beijing government dredged up (literally) in the South China Sea, or the shady trade manipulations that President Trump told Mr. Xi to fix — or else.
Indeed, Pyongyang dismissed the U.N.’s $1 billion export sanctions, as Mr. Kim’s repeated his constant refrain that North Korea needs the nukes to defend itself against U.S. aggression. He may well think he does.
Where does truth and beauty lie in all this? Are Big Deals No. 1, 2 and 3 really big enough to make a difference in how this all ends? My bet is we’re looking at early signs of a peaceful resolution, which is the way every potential nuclear confrontation has ended in the post-Hiroshima era (and a big reason why I’m able to write these words at all).
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