Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 00:40 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 00:40 | SYDNEY

The attendant benefits of the Six-Party Talks

10 July 2008 09:12

Guest blogger: David Howell is a Lowy Institute intern and a student in the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney.

In a recent post Sam argued that, whatever the outcome of the Six-Party Talks, they had the benefit of 'socialising' North Korea among its neighbours, and that this is a good in itself.

That argument is true of China as well. The Six Party Talks have provided China an opportunity to back its claimed desires of ‘peaceful development’ and a ‘harmonious world’ with concrete high-level diplomatic engagement in a multilateral structure designed to maintain regional stability.

The Six-Party Talks have been a training ground for China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system. In fact, Bonnie S. Glaser and Wang Liang argue this very point in the latest issue of The Washington Quarterly:

China’s role in the six-party talks has evolved from passive onlooker to reticent host and, finally, honest broker. The process provides a test case of U.S.-Chinese cooperation on a critical security issue and of Beijing’s willingness to become a responsible stakeholder.

In other words, the Talks have had a socialization effect on China and therefore have encouraged China to take greater initiative in multilateral diplomacy. China has become increasingly active in institutions like the UN Security Council, the WTO and APEC, in addition to institutions of which China has been the prime author, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the ASEAN-3.

The benefit of these institutions is that, no matter their intent, they temper a state’s predilection for purely self-interested action and encourage pursuance of a state’s interest through multilateral diplomacy and engagement rather than coercion or brute force.