China Playing a Long Game on North Korea
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  • Thirdsyphon

    China might have a keen interest in reining in North Korea’s military excesses to slow the pace of Japanese rearmament (to say nothing of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea), but a true reconciliation between Pyongyang and Seoul would be the worst-case scenario for Beijing. If North Koreans ever get a taste of how prosperous people are in the South, they’ll turn their backs on Chinese-style communism just as quickly as they’ll junk the “Juche Eight-Fold Way” philosophy of their current regime. Reunification on the South’s terms would dramatically increase the power of an already potent U.S. ally, while advancing that ally’s reach to the border of China itself.
    In that scenario, it’s highly unlikely that Seoul would ask the U.S. forces policing the DMZ to depart the country. My guess is that they’ll ask instead that our forces relocate to their new northern frontier to provide protection against their new and even more powerful rival to the north, and that whoever is President at the time would cheerfully accept that request, leaving China trapped in a defensive posture along a border that the North Koreans once guarded for them.

  • Corlyss

    “There is some speculation, which seems reasonable to us, that this move is the result of intense pressure from Beijing, which is sick and tired of the continual crisis atmosphere that North Korea has created in Northeast Asia.”
    Little is as it seems on the surface with those two. China calls the shots. They could stop NK’s shenanigans any time they wanted to. NK is a useful arrow in China’s quiver: China can manipulate them, and often us as well (at least under this administration of boobs), by tightening or loosening their control. It’s hard to take seriously anyone who claims NK is enough of an independent actor to the extent that China has to intervene to stifle them. It’s rather like a parent who claims she is at the mercy of her 4 yr-old’s temper tantrums: hard to believe.

  • bpuharic

    I spent a week in S Korea a few years ago. While that hardly makes me an expert, the folks I talked to seemed to be very aware that China is a threat to Korean sovereignty, having seen this a few hundred years ago (Koreans, it seems, have a long memory.)

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