Newswise — Chris Reardon, associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, is available to discuss the latest political moves as well as the politics of party elites in North Korea and China. Reardon is an expert in Chinese foreign economic policy, with special emphasis on elite politics and development strategies.
In discussing North Korea's return to the six-party talks, Reardon says "Bush's team would note this as a victory, arguing that their pressure forced the Chinese to act. This is not true."
"The Chinese were forced to act after the nuclear explosion, which was an embarrassment to the Chinese leadership. By selectively carrying out the embargo and putting forward plans to build a refugee fence on the North Korea-China border, the Chinese leadership has empowered their diplomats to carrying out shuttle diplomacy. The North Koreans accepted Chinese intervention, as the Chinese provided a way for the North Koreans to reenter the six-party talks with 'honor,' " Reardon says.
"Bush's people do not understand the importance of providing North Korea 'face'; Bush's people are more concerned about showing strength, especially in light of the coming U.S. mid-term elections. Power and bluster do not work with the North Koreans, and the Chinese know this. The only real advance will take place after Nov. 7, when the North Koreans and Chinese assume — or hope — Bush will be less belligerent," he says.
Reardon's current research focuses on the elite strategies in opening China's economy to the outside world in the 1980s. He has published The Reluctant Dragon: Crisis Cycles in Chinese Foreign Economic Policy, and translated two volumes of Chinese foreign economic policy documents. He is a research associate at the John King Fairbanks Center for East Asian Studies at Harvard University and coordinator of Asian Studies at the University of New Hampshire. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.