Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to CNN this week: "I believe that it's really important that Beijing lead here.... I've believed for some time that probably the country that can influence North Korea the most is clearly China ... [North Korea] destabilizes the region, and China has as much to lose as anybody in that region with the continuation of this kind of behavior and what the potential might be." State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley echoed this sentiment: "China is pivotal to moving North Korea in a fundamentally different direction ...We would hope and expect that China would use that influence, first, to reduce tensions that have arisen from North Korean provocations and then, secondly, [to] continue to encourage North Korea to take affirmative steps to denuclearize."
Hope all you want, P.J. It ain't gonna happen, at least not the way you put it. Sure, Beijing makes vague noises. "We are ready to make joint efforts," the Foreign Ministry said recently.
But China barely talks the talk, and no way does it walk the walk. Has Washington missed the new lovefest between Pyongyang and Beijing? A friendship forged in blood, as close as lips and teeth. The old slogans and warmth are back. And it's for real. Better believe it.