Donald Trump’s talk of a military showdown with North Korea has receded, but concern continues over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests.
As part of a half-hour special on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday morning, John Everard — former UK Ambassador to North Korea — and I spoke about the political and military situation, from North Korea to Washington to Beijing.
We discuss the possibility of an “accidental” military conflict, the character of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the back-channel discussions that could bring negotiations, and China’s position towards both Pyongyang and the US.
The conversation is preceded by a report from Washington by Niall Stanage and followed by a chat with Patricia Lewis of Chatham House about nuclear proliferation.
The bottom line for China is regional stability. Now it sees that regional stability being threatened on the one hand by the North Korean testing, and on the other hand by an unpredictable and arguably unstable US President.
So it will be trying to work with all possible contacts to make sure that this gets to the negotiating table, if not immediately, at least somewhere down the line to contain but not remove the North Korean nuclear program.