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North Korea Fallout
China Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Longtime readers will be familiar with our line that when North Korea misbehaves, China loses. Beijing often finds itself with few attractive options as Pyongyang gets more restive. Reuters explains in a very helpful piece of analysis:

China is in a bind over what to do about North Korea’s stepped-up nuclear and missile tests, even though it is annoyed with its ally and has started talks with other U.N. Security Council members on a new sanctions resolution against Pyongyang.

China shares a long land border with North Korea and is seen as the only country with real power to bring about change in the isolated and belligerent nation. However, Beijing fears strengthening sanctions could lead to collapse in North Korea, and it also believes the United States and its ally South Korea share responsibility for growing tensions in the region.

China is in a difficult spot, a source close to the Chinese leadership told Reuters when asked if Beijing’s attitude to North Korea had changed after its fifth nuclear test last week.

It’s a helpful backgrounder on China’s thinking and options. You should read the whole thing.

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  • Frank Natoli

    However, Beijing fears strengthening sanctions could lead to collapse in North Korea
    And, that is bad, because why? Because the Norks were permitted to go nuclear? By whom? What country thought the Norks going nuclear was a wonderful thumb in the American eye?
    Had Beijing strengthened sanctions BEFORE the Norks went nuclear, the same collapse would have occurred, and I suppose Seoul would have reunified the entire country, you know, like Ho reunified his entire country.
    Beijing made its bed. Let Beijing lay in it.
    But let us not forget the Iranian bed that BHO is planning to have us all lay in, when they too go nuclear.

    Thank you, Democrat voters.

    • Blackbeard

      Actually, Bill Clinton, with some help from Jimmy Carter, made this bed when he decided that appeasement was the right way to deter North Korea. Now we have the world’s major st belligerent rogue state with nuclear weapons and soon ICBMs to deliver them with. And in five or ten years Iran will be next in line.

      • Frank Natoli

        Yes and no. Pyongyang survived then and survives now at the pleasure of Beijing. Not sure what WJC could have done short of war, when Beijing was carrying Pyongyang.
        Teheran is a completely different matter, with no international sugar daddy, well, I guess none until BHO adopted them.

    • LarryD

      Beijing fears a Nork collapse because of the vision of millions of North Koreans fleeing into China. That’s what scares them.

      • Frank Natoli

        Millions of Nork civilians would be crossing the Yalu if and only if Kim Jong-un was dead. And Kim Jong-un isn’t going to die without using his nukes, which exist solely because Beijing permitted him to develop them. And a dead Kim Jong-un probably means reunification, which ends the threat of millions flooding north.
        The problem is the nukes, except of course when nice people like Muslim fanatics who publicly and on a daily basis threaten nuclear war in the Middle East are spinning centrifuges, then it’s OK.

        • Bucky Barkingham

          I do not agree. KJU could be killed in a coup and the Koreans people would dance in the street just like in Romania. The ChiComs could engineer it with their chosen guy replacing KJU in order to avoid chaos.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Tempting, but I don’t believe you are correct. The security forces are loyal to the Kim dynasty (they have to be, otherwise they would be dead by now), as the Chinese have discovered several times in the past few years as their catspaws have been purged repeatedly. The current leadership cadres (all repellant people, I don’t deny this) know full well that their lives, prosperity (such as it is) and freedom are all entirely dependent upon the survival of KJU, and having cast in their lot with him, aren’t going to change sides unless it is abundantly clear that he can no longer retaliate against them. Yes, this will happen eventually (the example of Romania is quite apt here), but I don’t believe we have reached that stage yet, and when we do, I suspect that the Chinese won’t be the ones to instigate the final collapse.
            More likely we are going to see a lot of chaos, and some very, very ugly aftermaths…

          • Frank Natoli

            Modern police states do a superb job of identifying and liquidating threats to the regime. Hitler committed suicide. Stalin died after lying for hours on the floor with a severe stroke when nobody would help him. Mao lived to old age. Ho lived to old age. Some general in North Korea doesn’t sit up straight at a meeting and he is liquidated. They know what they’re doing.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The TOP Priority for the Chinese Leadership is to retain their Government Positions that has made them all Billionaires. Their greatest fear is that an internal revolt will see them all hanging from the lampposts. Too the extent that they consider North Korea, they only see it as a buffer between the Superior Western Cultures and American Military Presence in South Korea and Japan. So long as the North Koreans don’t cause a military response the Chinese Leadership is just fine with their belligerence. It’s all about staying in power and continuing to line their pockets. This means No Democracy, No Rule of Law, No Freedom, all of which would see them out of power at the least as happened with Gorbachev.

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