The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

China: ready to abandon North Korea?

Joe:  see the article below. Is it possible as reported by Tisdall in the Gurdian via Wiki Leaks that China is fed up with north Korea and would accept reunification under a South Korean democratic government? This runs counter to the conventional wisdom of it being a “buffer state” for China. The question is why would China not care if North Korea collapsed and was taken over. It may be a sign that China feels secure in the New World Order (so to speak). It’s economic strength will allow China to sell to a new larger market. I suppose this is the carrot. –Bob

Leaked dispatches show Beijing is frustrated with military actions of 'spoiled child' and increasingly favours reunified Korea
South Korean war veterans protest after North Korea attacked Yeonpyeong Island. The WikiLeaks cables reveal Beijing believes such actions are those of a 'spoiled child'.
EXCERPTS;
China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child".  WikiLeaks
China is sharply critical of US pressure tactics towards North Korea and wants a resumption of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. But the Guardian can reveal Beijing's frustration with Pyongyang has grown since its missile and nuclear tests last year, worries about the economic impact of regional instability, and fears that the death of the dictator, Kim Jong-il, could spark a succession struggle. China's moves to distance itself from Kim are revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables published by the Guardian and four international newspapers.
The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:
South Korea's vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
• China's vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a "spoiled child" to get Washington's attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.
• A Chinese ambassador warned that North Korean nuclear activity was "a threat to the whole world's security".
• Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border. In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.

Chun, who has since been appointed national security adviser to South Korea's president, said North Korea had already collapsed economically. "The two officials, Chun said, were ready to 'face the new reality' that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, 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].  "Chun dismissed the prospect of a possible PRC military intervention in the event of a DPRK collapse, noting that China's strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan and South Korea – not North Korea." Discussing how to tackle the issue with the charge d'affaires at the Beijing embassy, He Yafei observed that "North Korea 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'. China encouraged the United States, 'after some time', to start to re-engage the DPRK," according to the diplomatic cable sent to Washington. A second dispatch from September last year described He downplaying the Chinese premier's trip to Pyongyang, telling the US deputy secretary of state, James Steinberg: "We may not like them ... [but] they [the DPRK] are a neighbour." It quoted a representative from an international agency saying Chinese officials believed they could absorb 300,000 North Koreans without outside help. If they arrived "all at once" it might use the military to seal the border, create a holding area and meet humanitarian needs. It might also ask other countries for help. "We understand Lee asked Hu what China thought about the North Korean domestic political situation and whether Beijing had any contingency plans. This time, Hu apparently pretended not to hear Lee," it said. The cable does not indicate the source of the reports, although elsewhere it talks about contacts at the presidential "blue house" in South Korea.

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