Daily Management Review

John Kerry's Attempt To Persuade Beijing Into Tougher Sanctions Against Pyongyang Failed


The visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Laos, Cambodia and China is proved unsuccessful. He failed to reach an agreement with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to impose the most severe sanctions on North Korea, as demanded by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo. In Laos and Cambodia, John Kerry was unable to convince local leaders to support the American views on a way to resolve the conflicts in the South China Sea. According to experts, the White House decided not to waste power in the search of unexpected moves and simply confirmed the main points of Barack Obama’s foreign policy in the region.

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
John Kerry’s Tour in the South-East and East Asia lasted for three days from 25 to 27 January, and each of those days became his disappointment. First, US Secretary of State unsuccessfully tried to persuade Vientiane and Phnom Penh to resist the aggressive actions of Beijing in the South China Sea within the framework of the united front of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Almost all countries of the community became involved in territorial disputes with Beijing over many small islands lying on important trade routes, and over deposits of natural resources.

Laos, which next year is going take ASEAN’s chairmanship, will - despite Washington’s exhortations - insist on a bilateral settlement of disputes between China and the Southeast Asian countries. In 2012, so did Cambodia, which was also heavily dependent on Beijing's politically and economically. According to the White House, a bilateral settlement of disputes outside ASEAN is beneficial only for Beijing: China deals with in a bilateral format with ease, being fortified with economic and military weight in the region.

Above that, John Kerry could not persuade head of China's diplomacy Wang Yi to join the coalition of the most severe sanctions against North Korea. After the nuclear tests conducted in North Korea on 6 January 2015, leaders of the USA, Japan and South Korea have agreed to seek introduction of most serious financial and trade restrictions for North Korea. John Kerry’s main goal of the visit was to coax Beijing, which is considered an ally of Pyongyang (it accounts for 77% of all North Korean trade). Earlier, US Secretary of State accused Beijing of failing its North Korean policy, unable to keep Pyongyang from the new tests.

Wang supported need for a new UN resolution, but added that China's position "will not be formed under the influence of emotions" and that the document "is not to provoke a new round of confrontation." Translated from the diplomatic, it most likely means that the PRC agree only with minor restrictions.

Over the past year, Washington was able to seriously strengthen relations with the majority of ASEAN countries. It resulted in signing an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) and support the deepening of integration in the Southeast Asia region.

source: reuters.com