“North Korea is very angry at us right now.”

One of today’s headlines reads,  “China Proposes Emergency Meeting on Korea Tensions.”  From the article:

“China tried Sunday to defuse tension over a recent North Korean attack on South Korea by proposing an emergency meeting in Beijing, hours after the U.S. and South Korea launched navel war games in a united show of force. . .  Japan will closely coordinate with Seoul and Washington in its response to China’s proposal, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama told reporters in Tokyo. . .  Washington and Seoul had been pressing China, North Korea’s main ally and benefactor, to help defuse the situation amid fears of all-out war. . . .”

A little more than five years ago, in northeastern China, not so far from its border with North Korea, I had an interesting conversation with a  “local government official”  that I cannot help but remember whenever things flare-up between the Koreas and China intervenes in an attempt to bring down temperatures.  That conversation comes at the end of this recounting of that part of a larger visit to China, “Delegation”, from which the title of this post comes.

 

Anshan Market. July 2005.

 

. . . Then, to get the conversation going in a bit brighter direction, I said something like, “Well, I think that China can be very helpful to the United States and North Korea because right now we’re very angry at each other, but China can be a good go-between.”  In Asia, this is a Big Deal, a role of great responsibility, and often honor.

[Local Chinese Government Official, “Tim”] said, “Thank you.  But North Korea is very angry at us right now.”

“Oh?” I said.

It goes on from there.

.     .     .

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