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【学英文】Editorial: N. Korea mission  

2009-08-05 16:01:26|  分类: 学英文 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Editorial: N. Korea mission

5 August 2009

 

The North Koreans are notorious for their secretiveness and the mixed signals they specialize in sending the outside world. On Tuesday, it rather looked as if the Americans were playing them at their own game, since the surprise visit of former President Bill Clinton has been shrouded(用裹尸布裹, 遮蔽, 隐藏) in contradictions(矛盾) from Washington.

Clinton arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a low-level welcome from the vice president of the Parliament and the lead negotiator in the six-nation nuclear disarmament talks from which North Korea has withdrawn, marking its departure with a salvo(保留条款) of controversial missile tests.

What appear to be US leaks to the South Korean press caused one newspaper to speculate that Clinton was coming to finalize the release of two arrested US journalists, sentenced to 12 years hard labor for entering the country illegally from China. The Seoul paper confidently predicted that Clinton would be flying home with both the journalists.

Commentators immediately predicted that Pyongyang would not be giving up the bargaining card of the two journalists unless they were being offered something in return.

After all, this was hardly like the last ex-presidential trip to North Korea, when in 1994 Jimmy Carter, in his role as international peacemaker arrived in an abortive bid to ease US-North Korean tensions when Clinton himself was president. Bill Clinton is much more than a goodwill ambassador. His wife after all is now US secretary of state and it is unthinkable that her husband should now be acting independently of the Obama administration.

Then later Tuesday came the announcement from Washington that this was indeed what was happening. Clinton was visiting Pyongyang in “a private capacity.” The statement came shortly before a meeting Clinton had with Kim Jong Il, the country’s apparently ailing leader. Supporting this notion is the fact that both the jailed reporters work for a California TV station run by Clinton’s former Vice President Al Gore.

However, now that Clinton has secured the release of the two jailed American journalists he has significantly laid the groundwork for a new dialogue between the Kim regime and the Obama administration. It is hard to think of an individual better placed and better qualified than him for such a delicate (精巧的, 精致的, 病弱的, 脆弱的, 微妙的, 棘手的, 灵敏的, 精密的)and challenging task.

This exercise in backdoor diplomacy could be taken as another demonstration of the flexibility and broad vision of the Obama foreign policy, lacking as it seems the blinkered(心胸狭隘的,思路狭窄的), doctrinaire(教条主义者) approach with which the world had to live for the eight long years of the Bush administration. It encourages further cautious hope for the chances of a just Palestinian settlement.

 

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