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Game of Thrones
China Edges Closer to North Korea

It appears that Xi Jinping has sent something of a love letter to Kim Jong-un. The New York Times:

Relations between China and North Korea showed some signs on Saturday of thawing after a deep chill, as President Xi Jinping of China sent a warm note to the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and sent one of his most senior officials to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Mr. Kim’s ruling party.

The official, Liu Yunshan, stood next to Mr. Kim during much of an elaborate military parade in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and the two chatted frequently. Mr. Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Politburo, is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the North since Mr. Kim rose to power in late 2011.

The internal debate in China over the value of its alliance with North Korea seems to be ending for now on—for the Norks a happy note. South Korea and Japan won’t be happy, but China isn’t happy with them.

The North Koreans are the world’s least satisfactory ally. They are terrible economic partners, flat out embarrassing on human rights, and their nuclear policies and aggressive rhetoric both alarm and infuriate their neighbors. That China is sticking with Pyongyang despite all this is a strong signal that China feels that it doesn’t have many options.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    China has enraged all of its neighbors with its outrageous and illegal territorial claims. The don’t have anyone that wants to fight with them, only parasites like North Korea, or Pakistan want anything to do with them and we all know how long they would stay bought in a war. The fact is, China was uplifted out of a water buffalo economy, by foreign investors interested in taking advantage of the cheap Chinese Labor and a potential 1 billion consumers. These investors are now desperate to get their investments out of an increasingly expensive and risky China, and they are going to take their brand names and world markets with them. China will now see a prolonged decline, as the inefficient and corrupt State owned part 1/3 of their economy, burdens the rest. This combined with the loss of export markets the foreigners took with them, will see the Chinese economy shrink so fast, a revolution is pretty much inevitable.
    I can see the Communist Party trying to save themselves with a foreign war. But, China is so vulnerable to a strategic blockade that it is unlikely they could win a war, especially since they have angered all the nations that sit on their shipping routes. China imports 60% of its oil, and is the largest importer of a wide range of other materials. A war which shut China’s ports, would destroy China’s economy, and that’s before their enemies start destroying China’s economic infrastructure.
    China should have engaged in a good neighbor policy, instead of the aggressive territorial ambition and military buildup. China will now suffer for unwise choices.

    • Tom

      China’s been working on diversifying its resource acquisition methods. Pipelines into central Asia, etc. While it would almost certainly lose a war against the United States, it would not be quite as easy as you seem to imply.

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