Friday, February 20, 2009

What does she know that we don't know?

[above: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by an unidentified US military officer (no kidding, he really is unidentified; I looked everywhere! If that were me, I'd be cheesed as pizza at the press!) as she arrives at Seongnam Airport, a facility used primarily for government and military flights in the suburbs south of Seoul.]

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Seoul for the Korea leg of her Asia trip. One of the tasks of Mrs Clinton's Asia trip, says the AFP, is to "revive nuclear disarmament negotiations" which appear "to have stalled over a looming leadership change."

In addition to naming former US Ambassador to Korea Stephen Bosworth as a special envoy to for North Korea, the Los Angeles Times reports that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also said we should all get ready for a post-Dear Leader North Korea:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that U.S. officials and allies were scrambling to prepare for the possible departure from power of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, a development she said threatened to increase turbulence in one of the world's most heavily armed regions.

Arriving in Seoul for security talks, Clinton said persistent signs in the secretive Pyongyang government suggested that a change of leadership might be at hand. She said the South Korean government had been especially concerned about possible developments inside its impoverished northern neighbor.

"Everybody's trying to read the tea leaves about what's happening and what's likely to occur," Clinton told reporters on her plane during a flight from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Seoul, broaching a topic that has rarely been discussed publicly by U.S. officials.

Clinton said that even a peaceful succession "creates more uncertainty, and it could create conditions that are even more provocative" as the ascendant leadership tries to consolidate power.
Mrs Clinton has also gone on record telling Pyongyang they need to sit down and have dialogue with Seoul, which they have stopped doing since the conservative and non-kowtowing Lee Myungbak regime took power last year. 

Anyway, if Mrs Clinton is right about an impeding change of power, then Seoul's to-do list should include making nice with Tokyo and Washington. Washington's to-do list should include assuring Beijing that a unified and democratic Korea is inevitable, per the United Nations, but that the United States will not station troops in the former DPRK provinces bordering China. 

The Pax Americana is what has kept tension-filled and heavily armed Northeast Asia free of hot war for nearly six decades, and it's what is necessary to keep it free of hot war for many decades more. 

Anyway, Clinton will hold a townhall-style meeting at Ewha Women's University (이화여자대학교) in Seoul, just across the street from my graduate alma mater, Yonsei University. Clinton's career-long concern over women's issues made it fitting that she would go to Ewha, considered the most prestigious of Korea's all-female universities. 

Meanwhile, what was Bill up to? 

UPDATE (Friday, February 20, 2009):
The New York Times has an article summing up Mrs Clinton's trip, including the soft and fuzzy side of her appearances. In Seoul, a "giggly Korean student" asked her "how she knew she had fallen in love with her husband." That's the kind of question you save for interviews with Britney Spears (and knowing what I know now, I would have asked Hillary what it was like to kiss Madonna). ABC News has video on Ewha University's "love fest" with Hillary. 

But in other Hillary-related news, she is getting criticism for letting economic issues and relations with China eclipse issues such as Tibet and other human rights concerns. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: those damned activists for the downtrodden have no sense of romance. 

[above: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes pictures with Ewha University students after answering questions about nuclear proliferation and hot monkey sex with Bill. As indicated by their hand gestures, many students in attendance are strong supporters of peace.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.