China and the United States failed to agree on a response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, during the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue that ended on Tuesday in Beijing.Does this mean that China is no longer a "threat" to the U.S. and Japan, and North Korea is the only remaining enemy of all other nations in the Asia-Pacific?
At a news conference after the talks, senior officials from both sides said that the 2 countries will cooperate on security and economic issues by setting aside differences.
Regarding a response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo stressed the need to calmly handle issues and avoid escalation of tension in order to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated US support for South Korea's call for a tough response to the alleged North Korean attack. She added the US will continue to work closely with the international community and China.
For some perspective on the North Korean threat, it's wise to compare military spending and capability. From Bill Quigley's "Number One in War:"
...the USA is number one in war. This coming year the US will spend 708 billion dollars on war and another $125 billion for Veterans Affairs – over $830 billion. In a distant second place is China which spent about $84 billion on its military in 2008.North Korea is not even on the chart, spending $5 billion a year. Japan spent $47 billion; and S. Korea $29 billion at last count (2008).
The US also leads the world in the sale of lethal weapons to others, selling about one of every three weapons worldwide. The USA’s major clients? South Korea, Israel and United Arab Emirates.
The US has 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for more than 40% of the military spending for the whole world.
North Korea (1.1 million) does have the world's most militarized population, but the Chinese (2.1 million); the U.S. (1.5 million); and the Indian military forces (1.3 million) are larger. For more military facts, see the Guardian's "Information is beautiful: war games."