Back to square one on North Korea?
On June 20 Trump tweeted: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” His words were described (paywall) as “almost cavalier” by the New York Times considering “how ardently he had sought the cooperation of President Xi Jinping.” In a separate article (paywall), the Times considers that tweet and the lack of tweetable progress with North Korea and concludes that “the short, unexpected honeymoon that China enjoyed with President Trump seems to be in trouble.”
Against this background, U.S. and Chinese negotiators met at the newly minted U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue (D&SD) in Washington, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and attended by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s Joint Staff Department.
Reporting so far:
- The South China Morning Post says that the discussions focused on “establishing a crisis-management mechanism” between the two countries.
- Responding to a question about the American president’s above-mentioned tweet, Trump “represents the American people’s view of North Korea,” Defense Secretary Mattis said at a press conference at the meeting, according to Politico.
Expect further details tomorrow.
Hi. Steve Bannon there?
This may come as a surprise to you, but SupChina is not (yet) the go-to news source on China for White House officials. Politico reports that three senior staff — National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon — are “obsessing” over the so-called Thucydides Trap. Last month, Harvard academic Graham Allison reportedly was invited to the National Security Council to brief officials on his view of how an ancient history of war may be destined to repeat itself in the form of a U.S.-China clash, if a dramatic change of course is not soon taken.
Considering the implications of the writings of Greek historian Thucydides for today is a valuable thought exercise, but we agree with author Ryan Holiday, who on Twitter suggested that the White House also read the perspective on Thucydides from Arthur Waldron, recently published by SupChina.