China giving up on North Korea

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by brettarider, Nov 30, 2010.

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  1. Found this on the BBC website has china finally had enough of NK or thinking about the bigger picture and realizing that there's more money from a united Korea to be made due to the massive upgrading of infrastructure that will be needed than they get from NK?

    Senior Chinese officials reportedly told a South Korean minister the Korean peninsula should be reunified under Seoul's control, according to leaked classified US diplomatic cables.

    They are said to have told an ex-South Korean minister China placed little value on the North as a buffer state.

    Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei meanwhile allegedly said Pyongyang was behaving like a "spoiled child".

    The US says the Wikileaks disclosures are an attack on the world community.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that every country had to be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern.

    But she said she was confident that partnerships the current US administration had worked hard to build, would withstand this challenge.

    The US was taking aggressive steps against those who "stole" the information, Mrs Clinton added.

    The whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks, and the newspapers which have published the cables say they have done so in the public interest.
    Continue reading the main story
    “Start Quote

    [China] would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a 'benign alliance'”

    End Quote US Ambassador Kathleen Stephens Diplomatic cable, February 2010

    * Media response to revelations
    * Is Wikileaks right to release secret documents?
    * US embassy cables: The background

    'New reality'

    One document published on Monday relays a discussion over an official lunch in February 2010 between former South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-woo and the US ambassador to Seoul, Kathleen Stephens.

    The minister is said to have revealed that a new, younger generation of Chinese leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally, and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula.

    Mr Chun confidently had predicted that North Korea "had already collapsed economically and would collapse politically two to three years after the death of Kim Jong-il", despite his efforts to obtain Chinese help and to secure the succession for his son, Ms Stephens wrote.

    "Describing a generational difference in Chinese attitudes toward North Korea, Chun claimed [name redacted] believed Korea should be unified under ROK [Republic of Korea] control," she added.

    Mr Chun said the Chinese officials "were ready to 'face the new reality' that the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state - a view that since North Korea's 2006 nuclear test had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People's Republic of China] leaders."

    "Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly 'not welcome' any US military presence north of the DMZ [Demilitarised Zone]," the ambassador's message said.

    "The PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a 'benign alliance' - as long as Korea was not hostile towards China," it added.
    Continue reading the main story
    Jonathan Marcus BBC Diplomatic Correspondent

    This latest batch of cables appears to provide an insight into China's thinking about its North Korean ally. That this comes at a time of renewed tensions on the Korean peninsula in the wake of the North's shelling of a South Korean island makes this even more interesting.

    The key cable dates back to February. In it, the then South Korean vice foreign minister tells the Americans that the Chinese are fed up with the North Korean regime's behaviour and would not oppose Korean re-unification.

    This is all fascinating stuff but seasoned Korea-watchers caution that this is a very "South Korean" view of the policy debate in Beijing. Other cables though do deal with direct Chinese-US conversations. In April 2009, after North Korea fired a missile over Japanese territory a Chinese official referred to North Korea as "a spoiled child".

    So there does indeed seem to be growing frustration with Pyongyang in at least some circles in Beijing. And that's useful to know at a moment like this. China is the key player in this crisis. Only it can broker some kind of talks with Pyongyang. But is this South Korean assessment - as reported to Washington - an accurate reflection of Beijing's current thinking? The answer to that is we simply do not know.

    Another cable reveals that China's Vice Foreign Minister, He Yafei, told the US charge d'affaires in Beijing that North Korea was behaving like a "spoiled child" to get Washington's attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.

    Mr He said Pyongyang "wanted to engage directly with the United States and was therefore acting like a 'spoiled child' in order to get the attention of the 'adult'", the diplomat wrote.

    "China therefore encouraged the United States, 'after some time', to start to re-engage the DPRK," he added.

    A second dispatch from September 2009 said Mr He had downplayed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's trip to Pyongyang, telling the US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg: "We may not like them... [but] they are a neighbour."

    He said the Mr Wen would push for denuclearisation and a return to talks.

    A few months later, the Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan is alleged to have described North Korea's nuclear programme as "a threat to the whole world's security".

    A cable from the US embassy in Seoul in January 2009 cited officials as claiming that Chinese President Hu Jintao deliberately "pretended not to hear" his South Korean counterpart, Lee Myung-bak, when he asked whether China had thought about the North Korean domestic political situation and whether Beijing had any contingency plans.

    BBC News - China 'would accept Korean reunification'
  2. I reckon that, if North Korea does a Berlin Wall and suddenly implodes, the Chinese will seize the top half of the country as a military buffer zone. They'll probably call it "protecting ethnic chinese" and just forget to give it back again...
  3. I think it is Guardian/BBC wishful thinking.
  4. The south, whilst welcoming the fall of the regime in the north, in no way want immediate re-unification, and neither would the Chinese. With the prospect of millions of economic migrents and bringign a basket case economy and nation in to the 21st century, as well as having to de-program a large chunk of the indoctricated north.
    The south has seen the damage that the former West Germany sufferd, both economically and socially when it embraced the East Germany both governmentally and financially in 89-90. It turned Germany into an economic basket case for a very long time. If there was ever to be a joining of the two Koreas, it would have to be on the souths terms.
  5. What does China possibly have to gain these days from such a troublesome and unreliable ally?

    A unified peninsula means there is no more need for US forces to be there any more and it means China can bring it under its influence. If not a unified peninsula then at least a North that is more subserviant and less of a pain-in-the-arse for just about everyone.
  6. Kim Jong Il - he's sooo lone-lee...

    Sorry, is that my coat?
  7. It would answer some questions though. I seem to recall last time there was a bit of a fuss down that way Kim Jong Il went to visit China on his armoured train, but came back unexpectedly early in a bit of a huff. Now the recent Artillery strikes might be him trying to say "Look at meeee!" to China. It'd also make sense in regards to his son. If China is threatening to slam the door on them both, then his son needs to be in an even stronger position than he was.

    Of course it could all go horribly wrong and he pushes the SK too far and they give him a kicking.
  8. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    China, now matter how they feel about North Korea, and no matter how they feel about the West, have taken upon themselves an obligation 60 years ago (at the cost of a large number of Chinese soldiers) to protect North Korea from the South AND the U.N./NATO/The West. They've reiterated that obligation countless times, and still stand by it today.

    They might be saying that they would be happy if the place was run by Seoul, but I'd imagine that would only be the case if that occured by an implosion of the North or even a North/South love-in rather than a hot war that involved America et al.

    With the current economic uncertainties all over the globe, and China's perhaps to follow, they will still not welcome a hot war on the Korean peninsular involving millions of soldiers and weapons that leads to a large number of Western ones landing on their doorstep, again.

    Despite the integration of China in a globablised economy, they still want a buffer zone. If Seoul spanks North Korea militarily without foreign (non Korean) forces going anywhere near China's borders, China might possibly turn a blind eye to the fact and recognise the new unified state.
  9. A significant number of the recent Wiki leaks seem to show that the US tells lies to its friends and it friends tell lies to each other. It may not be beyond the wit of man to conclude that the Chinese might tell lies occasionally to South Korea, or that South Korea might tell lies to the US.
  10. Quite true, but something Semper said on the other thread made me ponder anew.

    If - and it's still very much in the realms of idle speculation - a more secure Seoul could be convinced to MTG the US presence, I can see Beijing playing very nicely with a united Korea that'll steer its own path without reference to Washington. It'd be a major feather in the cap of the reformists to have broken the perceived 'China containment' strategy without any sort of aggro and they'd be rid of the Kim clan to boot.
  11. Re Semper's point, it's a bit unfair to say that the Koreans developed Hangul to remove Chinese influence. They developed Hangul because Chinese characters are unsuited to writing Korean (not a criticism of Chinese characters) and to improve their literacy rate (something which it did very well). Interestingly, although some Chinese characters are still used in S Korea (although less than in Japan), they have been abandoned in the north.

    Re US troops being asked to leave Korea, Japan & ROK are now on the same 'side', albeit hardly close allies. If a united Korea went it alone, I wonder how Tokyo would react? Get even closer to the USA? Start to develop their own forces further? Just try to avoid upsetting Beijing?
  12. Given the 'traditional' relationship between Korea and Japan, I doubt Seoul will give a tinkers what Tokyo thinks. To the man in the street, pissing off the Japanese establishment might even be seen as a side benefit of ditching the Yanks.

    As to how Japan will react, I suspect they'll have a fine line to tread between your first two options: public opinion is turning against US bases, particularly on Okinawa; and they'll have to keep an eye on what their neighbours think of any attempt to modify the military parts of their constitution or build their military. Folks have long memories in that neck of the woods.
  13. I thought he was 'ronery' (the weird, half-dead little fucktard).
  14. I think the real question is how cozy would a unified korea be with China. Japan has had a long long history with Korea and the "Joy Divisions" are not forgotten.

    However, like you said, memories run long and not all Korean's dislike the Americans and remember why they are there. I remember being invited to weddings, having had my track stopped in the middle of the street ala Tiananmen Square so that we would share a drink, invited into homes while in the field for hot meals, and brought breakfast while in position on a venders roof.

    There is also the economic ties with the US that the south now shares and enjoys and to avoid becoming another taiwon or tibet. I wouldn't start wringing my hands about yanks getting tossed aside just yet.
  15. I don’t imagine for moment the ROK citizens dislike Americans to any widespread degree. However I imagine that having a foreign army on your soil once the threat has gone would rankle a proud people, with the possible exception of the ones whose jobs are linked to US bases.

    ROK’s China trade accounts for nearly twice the imports and exports their US trade does nowadays, not that the ROK can’t accommodate both – particularly if they all of a sudden have a brand new northern part to modernise. I’d imagine they’d want to do all the trade they can get, then.

    The important thing would be how much they would want to see the future of a unified Korea delinked from defence dependence on the US.