Kyoko Altman at PostGlobal

Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. She has covered more than twenty countries. Close.

Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. more »

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A Selective Superpower

Hong Kong- China deserves full credit for dragging Kim Jong-Il back to the negotiating table in the aftermath of North Korea's nuclear test. Chinese diplomats brokered the diplomatic breakthrough after intense behind-the-scenes haggling with North Korea. And Chinese support enabled the UN Security Council to slap Pyongyang with sanctions soon after the blast. China's promise to crack down on illicit bank transactions with North Korea, reiterated this week, have also put steel into U.S. efforts to lock down Pyongyang's overseas assets. And last but not least, China appears to have cut off oil shipments to North Korea in September, just to make sure Kim got the message.

These actions show China can play a decisive and constructive role in global affairs when it chooses. But do they demonstrate China's emergence as a responsible superpower? Not by a long shot. Relations between Beijing and Taipei remain as volatile and unpredictable as ever. And consider Beijing's recent moves to gain leverage in another global arena, Africa. China has launched an extravagant charm offensive to woo African allies. This weekend, Beijing will host China's biggest-ever diplomatic event, rolling out the red carpet for leaders of 48 of the 53 African nations in the hope of securing commodities like oil in exchange for aid and loans. China has wielded its veto power on the Security Council to preclude international sanctions on countries with appalling human rights records like Sudan and Zimbabwe. It has drawn the condemnation of World Bank and IMF officials for doling out loans to corrupt regimes like Angola, undermining international efforts to encourage leaders of those nations to adopt sensible economic policies.

Yes, China's efforts to contain fallout from the nuclear testing in North Korea highlight its new prominence on the global stage. But whether that prominence bodes well or ill for the rest of the world remains to be seen.

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