The G20 summit is now taking place in China on the 4–5 September 2016. It is the eleventh meeting so far of the Group of Twenty. The Group of Twenty is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
The summit is an economic summit with talks mainly about economic issues. Of course, leaders take the opportunity to discuss other pressing matters regarding international politics. And on the sidelines of the summit, informal bilateral talks take place between countries. It is an excellent place for diplomatic conversations to take place.
North Korea Tries to Steal the Spotlight
Such a concentration of political power in one place draws a lot of attention. It is the political media’s favorite topic for a week. The talks are widely reported on and the 20 countries invited get a lot of press.
But what to do if you are not one the 20 major economies of the world? If, in fact your country’s economy is in a dire situation. With most of your people living in poverty and notorious for lack of even access to electricity. Yet you crave the limelight of an economic forum with 20 of the most developed economies of the world.
What to do if you are not one of the major players on the political scene? How do you get somemedia coverage?
Well, if you have ballistics and also, very little diplomatic self-restraint you can use military power.
This Monday, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles. It launched the missiles from a site south of Pyongyang at 12:14 p.m. local time. The missiles were fired into the sea off its east coast.
Reports said that the missiles were medium-range Rodong-class. According to sources in South Korea’s military, they flew for about 600 miles. At least one of the missiles was reported to fall into Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.
Reaction to North Korea’s Move
North Korea chose a very convenient time for its missile launches. Aside from the ongoing G20 summit, Pyongyang took advantage of tensions regarding the THAAD. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is an anti-missile battery that in all probability the United States are going to deploy to North Korea’s southern neighbor. The THAAD is part of the defense that the United sates will provide for the South Korea.
China does not have a positive stance when it comes to the THAAD. Beijing sees it as America incrementally trying to restrain China’s advances. It has also expressed concerns that the anti-missile system will be able to detect activity from China’s military. Which is something that Beijing does not want.
China was host to an earlier G20 meeting. At the meeting, president Park Geun-hye of South Korea expressed hope that Seoul and Beijing would unite together against North Korea.
I “hope that through earnest communication, our two countries can turn this challenge into an opportunity to further strengthen and move forward our bilateral relationship,” Park stated during the meeting with Xi Jinping, China’s president.
However, Xi Jinping reaffirmed his objections to Park Geun-hye’s decision to allow the United States to place the THAAD battery in South Korea.
According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, Xi told Park that “Mishandling the issue is not conducive to strategic stability in the region and could intensify disputes”.
Image source: here.