Six-party talks yield de facto return to “Agreed Framework” fiasco: After making concession after concession to Stalinist North Korea, the United States threw in another big one – allowing SNK “the provision of a nuclear light-water reactor” (BBC) at “an appropriate time” to finally get the Stalinists to sign an agreement at the six-party talks on the regime’s nuclear weapons. The deal itself was, of course, very light on details, which will be hammered out at yet another session of talks in November. There are some who wonder about the permanence of this (Charles Scanlon, BBC, for one), but the Bush Administration is “cautiously optimistic” (CNN) about the deal (Text of deal via CNN), which, as Matthew Forney of Time Asia correctly notes, “If implemented . . . will yield an agreement nearly identical to the ‘Agreed Framework’ negotiated by the Clinton Administration in 1994.” So, eleven years after that disaster began (and three years after it ended), we have come all the way back to it: promises of energy aid, talk of normal diplomatic relations, and liberation effectively ruled out. Only now the Stalinists have several nuclear weapons they can hide from inspectors. Will they never learn?
More on Stalinist North Korea: Jill Dougherty, CNN, takes the guided tour of SNK, but knows full well it’s all a show. T. A. Frank, in The New Republic, has another edition of Today in Despotism (the Stalinist regime is at the bottom).
Enlightened Comment of the Day: Today’s winners of this new prize are the editors of the Washington Post for their part-confession, part-missive on Yahoo’s abysmal behavior regarding Shi Tao (fourteenth, fifth, lead, third, eighth, and seventh items):
This is not merely an abstract business ethics issue: Yahoo's behavior in China could have real consequences for U.S. foreign policy. Over the past two decades, many have argued – ourselves included – that despite China's authoritarian and sometimes openly hostile government, it is nevertheless right to encourage American companies to work there. Their very presence has been thought to make the society more open, if not necessarily more democratic. If that is no longer the case – if in fact, American companies are helping China become more authoritarian, more hostile and more of an obstacle to U.S. goals of democracy promotion around the world – then it is time to rethink the rules under which they operate.
More on Yahoo’s role in the Shi Tao arrest: Ellen Bork, in the New York Sun (via Project for the New American Century), comes a close second for ECOD honors as she rips President Clinton for his silence on Shi Tao (fifth item). Meanwhile, Shi’s lawyer tells the Epoch Times that the Communists came after him – “Chinese authorities stopped his business, took away his license to practice law, and held him under house arrest, ostensibly for posting essays on overseas websites” – before he could escape to Canada.
Communists disperse peaceful protest with water cannons: In Taishi Village (Guangdong), a number of angry peasants “started a peaceful sit-in and hunger strike in early September” (Epoch Times) to preserve evidence against a corrupt local cadre. The Communists responded with “1000 riot police with high-pressure water hoses” to break up the sit-in. There were nearly fifty arrests, and many injuries.
How a Communist lackey becomes a “media mogul”: Liu Changle is the founder of Phoenix Satellite Television, “the only private television network in China allowed to broadcast news in Chinese” (Washington Post). What the Post found, however, was a “private” owner who gladly spews Communist propaganda, had a long stint in the Communist military, and even includes the Communist-run television network as a minority partner: “to show we wouldn't oppose the Communist Party.” NTDTV, it’s not.
Murdoch furious at Communist China: Meanwhile, after roughly a decade of trying to get into the Communist television media market, Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch has been left high and dry by Hu Jintao’s recent crackdown on foreign media (second item). Murdoch bitterly noted that his plans “have ‘hit a brick wall’ in China after the government changed its policy on foreign media expansion (BBC).
Ignorant Comment of the Day: The older and more dubious distinction goes to Admiral William J. Fallon, head of the Pacific Command. In an interview with the Washington Post, Fallon let loose this whopper: “A rising China that is actively engaged in helping the countries of the region maintain security and stability can be a very good thing.” The mind reels. Meanwhile, Edward Lanfranco, United Press International (via Washington Times) further examines Fallon’s “missile boat diplomacy.”
Hunger strike in New York; support for ex-Communists in Chicago: Half a dozen relatives of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned by Communist China have begun a hunger strike to draw attention to their families’ plight (Epoch Times). Meanwhile, the Cook County Illinois Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the nearly 4.5 million Party members who have renounced their membership (Epoch Times).
More on Communist China and the United States: Zhang Xiaomin, Epoch Times, gives the scene from New York as Communist leader Hu Jintao left for Vancouver last week. Matt Gnaizda, Epoch Times, marvels at how Hu could talk of peace while his general threatens nuclear war. Finally, economist-turned-dissident He Qinglian examines the reasons behind Communist China’s hostility to America in the Epoch Times.
Communist canal could lead to Russia “catastrophe”: A Communist plan to build a canal “across the Irtysh river's source waters” (UPI via Washington Times), will “divert water from the Cherny Irtysh, one of the Irtysh's sources, to a rapidly developing economic zone in western China.” As a result, “over 1 million people and dozens of enterprises in Russia” may be “without water.” Communist China has dismissed all pleas by Russia to address what “may be catastrophe in several Siberian regions.”