PRAYER ALERT: On Monday, Feb. 11 China and Taiwan entered into their highest level of peace talks since Taiwan broke away from mainland China in 1949. In the past China has often threatened to attack Taiwan. In 1995-96 it even fired missiles and practiced military exercises off the Taiwanese coast. But in the last decade increasing trade and tourism have slowly warmed relations, making these peace talks in China possible. Taiwanese businessmen have also invested hundreds of billions in China.
China now hopes to use economic ties instead of military force to reunify with Taiwan. But that is a prospect which 80% of Taiwanese oppose. Still, Taiwan’s top negotiator Wang Yu-chi said the peace talks in China are a “new stage” in their relations and “a day for the record books.” The Chinese delegation head Zhang Zhijun said, “Our meeting had been something unimaginable before. But if we really want to achieve breakthroughs we must apply a bit of creativity.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, a day after the China-Taiwan talks began, nearby North and South Korea started their highest level talks since 2007. It was in 2007 that North Korea shut down a plutonium production reactor at its main nuclear complex. Then last month, North Korea activated that reactor again. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un threatened nuclear disaster if the US and South Korea begin their annual joint military drills as scheduled on Feb. 24.
But Kim followed up his rhetoric with a peace offensive. Kim called on on both sides to stop bickering and halt all provocative military operations. He later agreed to hold North-South family reunions and then initiated Tuesday’s peace talks. But on Wednesday, as a condition for the family reunions and further talks, North Korea demanded that the South delay its military drills with the US. The South again refused. It said that North Korea must first prove it wants peace by disarming its nuclear program.
Yet the talks continued. Today both sides made concessions. North Korea dropped its demand for delay of the military drills. South Korea agreed that both sides should stop insulting each other. But what will North Korea do if South Korea’s free press keeps criticizing his totalitarian rule? Will North Korea use the talks to stir up more antagonism, or to strike a deal after a 60-year-old impasse?
Read more about combative peace talks in Syria and Pakistan, and how to pray about these conflicts…
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Tags for Peace talks in China: Taiwan, China, Peace talks in China, North Korea, South Korea, nuclear weapons, Kim Jong Un, plutonium, US, nuclear disarmament, sanctions
Peace talks in China enabled by economic ties