President Bush is attempting a shift in his approach to diplomacy. He sent a cordial letter to the head of North Korea and engaged in an extensive phone conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Chinese president expressed the hope to Bush that in the future there could be more extensive dialogue between the leaders in order to avoid creating bitter relations. For example, he wanted to work with Bush on developing an approach to the Taiwan issue that might resolve this long standing issue which has separated the two nations. Bush gave assurances the United States would not support the idea of an independent Taiwan nation. He also agreed that multi-nation cooperation had resolved the North Korean nuclear issue without exacerbating the situation.
In a surprising move, President Bush told the Chinese leader of his willingess to solve the Iranian issue through diplomatic channels and through dialogue between all concerned parties. The exchange between an American president who consistently has attempted to bully and threaten other nations is a welcome change. One of the persistent weaknesses of Bush is an inability to engage in active listening when others speak. He prefers people who echo his last thoughts. Hopefully, this exchange with the Chinese leader is a first step in his maturity as a leader.