U.S. Stands With an Ally, Eager for China to Join the Line

The New York Times reports on the diplomatic maneuvering behind the U.S. support for South Korea in the dispute over the sinking of the Cheonan:

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday declared America’s solidarity with South Korea in its mounting confrontation with North Korea, she had more than a domestic audience in mind: she was also speaking to the Chinese.

“We believe it’s in everyone’s interest, including China, to make a persuasive case for North Korea to change direction,” Mrs. Clinton said after meeting South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak.

She implored the Chinese to study the 400-page South Korean government report that concluded that the North torpedoed a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors. And she promoted a visit to Seoul on Friday by the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, which American officials hope will open the door for Beijing’s support of a United Nations resolution condemning the attack.

The American effort to muster Chinese backing for South Korea is emerging as a test case for how the Obama administration handles China, a nation that is more assertive on the world stage, yet possessed of some of the same insecurities and internal divisions that have long preoccupied its leaders.

See also “US pressures China to condemn North Korea ‘aggression’” from BBC.

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