A Chinese diplomat says Chimpy and Condi’s name-calling is hampering negotiations with North Korea.
A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday accused the Bush administration of undermining efforts to revive negotiations with the North Korean government and said there was “no solid evidence” that North Korea was preparing to test a nuclear weapon.
The comments by Yang Xiyu, a senior Foreign Ministry official and China’s top official on the North Korean nuclear problem, were noteworthy because the Chinese authorities very rarely speak to journalists about the issue. The comments reflect growing frustration in Beijing with the Bush administration.
Even as the White House presses China to find a solution to the nuclear issue, Chinese officials say, it has hurled insults at North Korea and given its leaders excuses to stay away from the bargaining table.
“It is true that we do not yet have tangible achievements” in ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Mr. Yang said in an interview. “But a basic reason for the unsuccessful effort lies in the lack of cooperation from the U.S. side.”
Mr. Yang said that when President Bush referred to the North Korea leader, Kim Jong Il, as a “tyrant” in late April, Mr. Bush “destroyed the atmosphere” for negotiations, undoing weeks of efforts to persuade North Korea that the United States would bargain in good faith.
Mr. Yang said formally on Thursday what diplomats here had been whispering for months: personal attacks against Mr. Kim by Mr. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top administration officials had caused a “loss of face” for North Korean officials and created big obstacles to reaching any negotiated solution.