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Why China Won't Do More With North Korea

Reading all the stuff about North Korea's nukes, one thing strikes me: the United States seems to want to outsource not just its jobs to China, but also its diplomacy. "It's up to China!" and "China can do more!" are the operative phrases emerging from DC-think-tanks and the US government. As if....

Here's where those easy exhortations break down and why I think it's naïve of us to expect that China can "do more," or in the words of John Bolton, "end this thing tomorrow."

First, there's a silly assumption in Washington that our interests (no nukes in North Korea) are the same as China's. But they're not. China's first interest in North Korea is making sure the Kim regime doesn't collapse. China's second interest? Making sure the Kim regime doesn't collapse. From Beijing's perspective, nukes in North Korea rank somewhere around 10th.

Why is China so intent on "regime maintenance"? If North Korea collapses a few things happen.

First, about 2 million people will rush into China's northeast as refugees. Not fun - and a huge tax on China's already poor infrastructure. (An estimated 250,000 North Korean refugees already move back and forth between the two countries.)

Second, China will be faced with a tough decision: dispatch the PLA into North Korea? What happens if the PLA meets up with the South Korean or U.S. armies heading north?

Third, remember all that South Korean investment in China? We're talking billions. It would all go home, into building a united country. (China is South Korea's biggest trading partner, by the way.)

Fourth, a North Korean collapse means that China can forget about turning North Korea into an economic vassal state. (Talk to any South Korean interested in investing in North Korea. Any mine or industrial facility with any prospects of a profit is already a target of Chinese investment.) If Kim collapses, China's firms are going to lose out to the Korean brothers from the south.

Fifth, how would a united Korean peninsula change China's geopolitical position? It definitely wouldn't help it. Right now, Beijing has an (admittedly wacky) Commie buffer state on their border. But at least it's Commie. With a democratic, capitalist, united Korean peninsula, China loses out. (One of the under-reported stories in China is the depth of South Korea's cultural influence in China. In the West, we like to think that China's youth are "Westernized" or even "Americanized." The reality is that they're "South Koreanized." That formulation is definitely unwieldy, but it's closer to the truth.)

Six, China's ethnic Korean population along North Korea's border is not known for being restive. But what happens to those folks once the Korean peninsula is united? Greater Korea, anyone?

Another broader factor also plays into the problems on the Korean peninsula. And that's this: For decades the United States has assumed that it could mold China into an ally. We had limited success in yanking China into our battle with the Soviet Union. But an exception doesn't prove the rule. There's a lot of hyperventilating in Washington these days about the "G2" and about how the United States and China together will solve the world's problems. On the Korean peninsula - the very peninsula where China and the United States fought a nasty war 59 years ago - those assumptions have run aground. We can't outsource the solution to North Korea's nukes to China because China views its interests a lot differently than we do. Sure, China would rather not see Pyongyang have the bomb. But if given the choice between a nuclear-armed North Korea and no North Korea at all, Beijing will go with the former.

So, this is the maw that China is staring into as Washington demands more action from Beijing. So what will Beijing do? My guess is encourage more talks.

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Comments (54)

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Dr. Henry Kissinger had a good article on this. He suggested some real discussion between US and China to plan the post-Kim Korea situation. Being the person changed the China (and the world), his words still reminds of that great accomplishment. He might have received a disgraceful Nobel Prize from Vietnam War, but he, Nixon, Chou En-lai or even Mao, should shared Nobel Prize for bringing Chiona forward.

I agree with Kissinger that US and China should plan ahead the future and power balance of Northeast Asia, instead of managing the crisis between missile launches. If keeping Koreas separated is the desirable outcome, how to accomplish it without big losses.

Inst Author Profile Page:

I just think that everyone should remember that North Korea is a sovereign state and is neither a Chinese or Russian satellite state. North Korea was Soviet-aligned during the Sino-Soviet split, and only ran off to China for assistance after the Soviets collapsed.

Regarding the prospect of a united Korea, until at least the Olympics debacle, I believe South Korea had quite warm thoughts towards the now-deceased ancient Chinese civilization. Korea was bailed out in the late 1500s by China when Hideyoshi attempted to demilitarize Japan by invading Korea. I don't think it's an automatic given that if the Western countries are apprehensive about China's rise, that all of its neighbors would be as well (barring, say, Vietnam, or Japan, or India).

FrankRizzo1 Author Profile Page:

What I find interesting and which can seldom be ignored when discussing Chinese foreign policy is the "Taiwan card"

Forget Kim or Obama/Bush/Clinton or Hu or whoever; Instead look at China - with Korea as it's last stalwart of communism - and the U.S. - with Taiwan as it's little democratic second cousin, historically pissing off Beijing to no end.

If we are to talk about a nuclearized North Korean tyrant state with China doing little to contain it, would it not logically follow that the US would arm or assist Taiwan in gaining nukes?

They've already mistakenly (sic) sent working parts to there, and what would whip Beijing's ass more than knowing they were a button push away by being blown up by their own little lost wayard child?

Just a thought.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

As to Beijing's effort to DPRK, some Chinese site said that during those visits by Kim, Chinese always put him on the big hotel room facing all the bright city lights and hope this old comrade's young son could get the hint and develope his country's economy instead of staying in the blackmail business. But, Kim is not strong enough to leap forward and make the change. Apparently, it takes more courage to change course than to have millions killed. I believe in current Chinese leaders' mild style, it is unlikely they will do anything dramatic.

Korean culture assumes a lot from Confucius teaching and they practice it much more than Chinese. That means they will be loyal to their duty and to their leader. Historically, Chinese never conquer Koreans. I wonder if the Chinese government has enough wisdom and skill to guide this lost brother.

Indep_Observer Author Profile Page:

Coolbliss said: "I wish China could overthrow the current North Korean regime and install a puppet regime loyal to Beijing's interests."
The Chinese government may get the approval of both the S. Koreans and the USA while the Japanese would learn to live with that.
The only problem with that scenario is that if China is to be a caretaker for N. Korea the countries involved in the 6 party talks will have to be willing to offer assurance for the long term maintenance of N. Korea. The N. Korean economy will take a long time to recover from the decades of mismanagement. China would have to feed, clothe and provide fuel and building materials for the N. Koreans on a full time basis. China may be the largest emerging economy at the start of a recovery but if financing is not assured then this may be one long term commitment too far for them.

coolbliss Author Profile Page:

The fact that Kim Jong Il is appointing his youngest kid (26 years old) as the heir to the throne is not a good sign for the DPRK. Kim Jong Un is probably getting drunk every night, playing video games, watching porn and chasing after daughters of big-shot DPRK officials. Kim Jong Il is going to die very soon and I don't see how a party animal dude who admires Jean Claude van Damme can rule a nation of 25 million people. God help the miserable people of North Korea.

The Kim Dynasty is destroying North Korea; more money allocated to the military and the party elite while the majority of citizens starve through out the country.

I wish China could overthrow the current North Korean regime and install a puppet regime loyal to Beijing's interests. I think it is in China's best interest to remove the Kim Family from power once and for all. South Korea would appreciate this. I even think the US would give a thumps up too. Bottom line: the Kims have got to go!

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To Donald2,

You crapped. China already stated firmly that let Korean people solve their own issues before 1950.

After 1952 China moved out of NK, look who are staying in Korea for all these years?

Not Chinese, No Chinese!
Americans, Ten Thousands Strong!

Only US want to break Korea and Korean into two peace, look at the history of Germany, Middle East, some African nations, as long as American force went, the nation were in pieces!

US also plotted to break China into two piece, after 1945, too bad Mao and Jian were not separatists like Dalai or Chen Shui Bian.

And all these years, US never equipment or trained SK well, so that SK always depends on US for protection, so this way US can enjoy their benefit in SK, and never mind to leave there.

If you truly love someone or a nation, set him/her or them free.

But US has no Godly love on Korean or Korea, too poor Korean people. US makes sure they power and balance each other with weapons forever.

If I were KimII, I'd change my government into democratic body, work on economy, and when all these things done, unification will be decided by all Korean people, not now, by US.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

In the position of Korean unification, I believe neither US and China want them to be unified. US want South Korean to fight North; China want North to be a buffer zone. Poor Koreans.

Neither China nor US want nuclear weapons in Koreans. But, if North ever fire nuclear weapons, that will be against Japan, not South Korea. North and South Korea are both Koreans. Giving their strong nationalism, North won't use it against South.

Giving the strong and tough culture of Koreans, I would suggest Japan use more diplomacy.

Chan1 Author Profile Page:


Long time no see! Pleasantly surprised to see you here. As usual, don't necessarily agree with everything you say, but always enjoy reading them.



Not sure about whether Kim is clinically insane or not. But he certainly seems very smart.

When it comes to the crunch, China doesn't actually have a lot of influence on NK. The reason why China cannot stop Kim is exactly the same reason why the US cannot attack NK. NK holds the "button" to start WW3. Neither China nor the US can afford this. And the problem is Kim knows that.

Many people don't seem to realize that China and NK wasn't allies before the firing of the missile over Japan by NK in 1998. That was why NK was referred to as a "hermit" state before 1998: It had no friends or allies. China was certainly NOT an ally at that time (other than its interest in preventing NK from a total collapse).

The firing of the missile in 98 forced China to the negotiation table. China's goal was to find a diplomatic solution to diffuse the tension. In order to do that, it needed to convince Kim that China was willing to become its ally and a go-between for future talks with the US.

To be accepted by Kim, China had to satisfy a few preconditions set by NK. This included, amongst other things, the forced repatriation of all illegal NK immigrants living in China, which explains why you suddenly saw all these N. Koreans being sent back. China had little option at the time but to comply. China also agreed to provide food and fuel supplies to NK.

I think it is no exageration to say that China's efforts prevented a possible WW3. Without China becoming an ally of NK, the 6 party talks would not have been possible. In that case, China and the US would have been pitted against each other, in what could have become the start of WW3.

Whether the talks will succeed does NOT depend on China. It ultimately depends on NK and the US. They did go very well until early 2008 when Roh unfortunately lost his presidency in SK.

Unfortunately, China's recent agreement to vote with the other UN members to condemn NK was seen by NK as a betrayal. As such, China's capacity in this mediation role has been severely jeopardized. However as things stand at the moment, there is little else the world can do. China currently has no option but to insist on persuading NK to come back to the negotiation table. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Especially if NK refuses.

stxflyer Author Profile Page:

No one has mentioned one obvious fact.

Kim is clinically insane. He is incapable of honoring any commitment. He will agree to something, but then a switch will click in his little brain and everything becomes meaningless. 55 year ceasefire. No more.

Nothing will happen in the DPRK until he is gone.

Sing1 has the best analysis.

"Kim is trying to protect the legacy of the Kim Dynasty. North Korean has been told that South Korea is occupied by US imperialism and Kim and his family has been leading their country to defend the honor of the Korean people with no help from outside and all the suffering will be worth it if they can force American to the negotiation table..."

The key is Kim is trying to protect Kim. There's nothing in that statement benefiting the people he dominates. He doesn't care about them.

If the US bypasses the 6 party talks, he wins. But, he will still not honor his agreements in the future. So why do it?

General YuFu is dead wrong. China is the only country with influence on DPRK. They are supporting the government. They could stop this in a minute if they wanted to. I have no guess as to their reasons, but I don't think I have read it here.

Lastly, how can you blame Obama for any of this? Iraq and Afghanistan have been going on for 8 years or longer. Obama is in office 110 days with a whole lot of more important problems, ALL inherited from and caused by shrub.

pgr88 Author Profile Page:

North Korea is already collapsed, and as far as refugees are concerned, China does not care. China can easily send 250,000 troops to the border with orders to stop literally everyone from crossing. That is easy

China DOES want a subservient vassal state on its border. It doesn't mind either that the lap-dog of N. Korea will occassionally poke Japan and the USA in the eye. That's a useful thing.

Therefore, Koreans should look directly at China as the reason that N. Korea people are in misery. China is enslaving them

light12345 Author Profile Page:

I found all those who confused "Han" for Han Chinese with "Han" for whatever Korean really amusing. In Cantonese Chinese, the two words does not even have the same pronounciation! The ignorance!

hawksmoor Author Profile Page:

"For decades the United States has assumed that it could mold China into an ally"

I think those decades came and left, decades ago.


To Zamael88
Lighten up, most Chinese do not call Seoul "Han Cheng" out of some nationalist sentiment or to annoy Koreans, it's just a name that's been used a lot in the past and often easier to recall than "Shou Er".

This is similar to how Chinese maps still refer to San Francisco as "旧金山" or old gold mountain, from the California gold rush times.

typhoidX Author Profile Page:

By the way...

RE: Zamael88:

I don't know which books or maps you refer to, but last time I went back to Beijing, the airport signs and news reports always referred to Seoul as "Sho Er" (basically a Chinese transliteration of 'Seoul'), not Han Cheng. From what I'm told, "Sho Er" was adopted after some Koreans took offense at the name "Han Cheng".

typhoidX Author Profile Page:

This author speaks as if China is plotting against Korean reunification to keep N. Korea as a vassal state. Here are a few points that are completely off the mark:

3. S. Korea is just as worried about a DPRK collapse as China. Any Korean policy maker or academic will tell you that the cost of reunifying with and rebuilding North Korea would be exponentially larger than the cost of West Germany's reunification with the East after '89. The DPRK undoubtedly wants to avoid reunification, since there is no way it can determine the terms thereof. There is little anyone else can do to help Korea reunify when Koreans themselves are reluctant.

4. This so-called "economic vassal state" is of little economic value given that China has to constantly pump money and resources into its faltering economy. The benefits of trade with the RoK is much greater than the liability of having to keep the DPRK alive, even though as mentioned in point 1, its an absolute necessity.

5. Pomfret assumes that internal ideology determines geopolitical fortunes. Mainland China has witnessed the democratization all over the region (Taiwan, S. Korea, former USSR, etc), it has not led to China's political isolation, nor did it place significant burden on China for political reform. If China is already heavily influenced by South Korean culture, than it has already penetrated into China, regardless of whether the two countries share a border.

One last point: right now the SOLE purpose of North Korean nukes is to deter the US, Japan & S. Korea. Who is to say that its unpredictable military won't use them on China, should it feel that the situation is getting desperate? There is no way China is willing to take a nuke originally meant for Tokyo or Pearl Harbor, sorry guys, not gonna happen.

yt_651 Author Profile Page:


Before Soeul became Soeul, it had 6 different names during 5 different periods. They were:

1) (a) Wirye-seong (위례성; 慰禮城, Baekje era)
... (b) Hanseong (한성; 漢城, Baekje era)
2) Hanju (한주; 漢州, Silla era)
3) Namgyeong (남경; 南京, Goryeo era)
4) (a) Hanseong (한성; 漢城, Joseon era)
... (b) Hanyang (한양; 漢陽, Joseon era)
... (c) Gyeongseong (경성; 京城, Joseon era)
5) Gyeongseong (경성; 京城, Japanese Occupation era)

The earliest era was Baekje. That means, the oldest name (and longest) was Hanseong (한성; 漢城).

** That is the reason why this name is on Chinese maps. **

(This name was originally on Korean maps and Japanese maps also).

xxxxPandaAtWar Author Profile Page:

Zamael88 :

I didn't mean any offence whatsoever to Korean people on any purpose, but strichtly explain it by direct translation according to Chinese word definition "City of Han", which, make no mistake here, was NOT invented by Communism, neither by Nationalism as you mistakenly accused, but inherited from millennia-old Chinese cultural heritage of language instead. Deep in out hearts, you and I know this without a doubt.

Therefore, if your ultra-sensitive nationlism nerve could calm down a little bit when I just cracked a joke, it will not be that hard for you to comprehend that I am not reponsible, and thus will not appologize for the invention and the standard usage of this character in the dictioanry which occured in the ancient past.


xxxxPandaAtWar Author Profile Page:

@ TalkingHead1 :

I've never claimed that Korea is a breakaway province of China. Only Taiwan is fortunate enough to enjoy that qualification.

Talking about homonyms, you have to know that it cuts both ways. Oke, mea culpa that Seoul ought to mean Large City according to your explanation. So as you mentioned, Korea got Han City (Seoul)-Large City, and Han River-Large River; needless to mention Han Mountain - Large Mountain, Han Clothing - Large Clothing, Han Food - Large Food, Han language - Large language, Han people minority -Large People minority...

Hehe, man! En fin, shall we say that she is top-down and bottom-up Hanized, except dear leader Kim of course?


thmak Author Profile Page:

Why China should do more woth N Korea?. The Korean conflict is caused by US. Without US intervention, the Korean peninsula and Vietnam are as peacful as ever. With US intervention, there are the Vietnam war, the Middle East wars and the Korean war. China had withdrew its military from N Korea while US will keep its military in Korea with no end in sight. US always nuclear blackmail other country.

Zamael88 Author Profile Page:


As a south korean citizen, I must point out an error in your comment.

The name of south korea's capital, Seoul(서울), is orginated from Korean language.

It is true that the chinese stil call Seoul as "City of Han(한성)" in their own lagunage and they even publish Seoul(서울) as "City of Han(한성)" in chinese map. I do not understand their intention.

However, I can assure you that China is the only country which still calls "Seoul" as "City of Han" in this world even though "City of Han" does not existed in South Korea.

Whatever the chinese call our capital as "City of Han" Seoul is still Seoul and the name was originated by Korean language.

I do believe this is casued by Chinese nationalism which is severely offensive to our nation.

pug_ster Author Profile Page:

Yes China definitely want stability in the Korean Peninsula region. Although China condemns NK's nuke testing, they are not worried that these nukes are pointed at Beijing anytime soon as long as China gets to NK's good side. They already are 'testing' middle range missiles and combines with the nukes makes this especially dangerous.

I think that Pomfret is wrong about China wanting a united Korea but they want a united Korea that is more friendly to China than the US as South Koreans thinks the US troops are more like occupiers than defenders. Yes it is possible because if the KMT and the CCP were sworn enemies 30 years ago but now friends now, China can exert their influence on South Korea more than the US. However, there is 31,000 troops in South Korean's DMZ thinks that a United Korea unfavorable to US's terms is a bad thing. So the stalemate between between North and South Korea continues.

Indep_Observer Author Profile Page:

There have been various suggestions including talking to the North Koreans, taking out the current regime, re-unification with South Korea, Chinese take-over of N. Korea, etc. All of these have their pros and cons. In reverse order, (1) China taking over of N. Korea or N. Koreans migrating across the Chinese border would not be acceptable to China. China is already N. Korea's main lifeline, sending relief supplies of food, clothing and oil to N. Korea. China is trying to revive it's own economy without trying to further improve the N. Korean lot. In addition taking over N. Korea brings it next to S. Korea and that much nearer to Japan and the respective US military bases there. Much as I would like to the Japanese bricking it, the S. Koreans would unfortunately be the worse off for it being the "piggy in the middle". (2) Re-unification with S. Korea. Can't see the N. Koreans agreeing to this or the S. Koreans willing to pay the price. Again this would bring the US right to the Chinese border. (3) Taking out N. Korea. See Iraq but this time with real loopies in charge with real weapons of mass destruction. (4) Talking to the N. Koreans. Only problem, the N. Koreans don't do communications very well. At this moment their Chinese protectors are silently furious and probably muttering among themselves, "... ungrateful stupid sons of b.....!" Have a nice day!

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

I think the best solution is that US, SK, China, Japan, all send their Talking Teams into NK, to bu-lls-hit with them, to sit down and arrange the difference, to threaten each other in face.

So this way, do away any misunderstanding that could cause matter worth, and this way gives Kim some ground and face and chance to rethink a better and easy road.

People sometimes need to be directly warn each other so the matter won't go worse.

They can negotiate terms also, and if not, there is always a condition provided that people are talking, not in confrontation.

Maybe they all understand each other a little more during this long process, then people change view about each other, maybe become friends, and set in business and entertainment.

Let culture of communication change and mold each other, but don't let guns and wars to threaten and solve problem.

That's what US should do.

Send a good bulls-hit-ting team, live there, talk to Kim about music, art and girls and wines whatever... and then get to the serious stuff. If US send in there talking team, what he dares to do, lock them up? kill them? He might treat them as guest and give them best suite hotel.

Maybe Kim is a generous person for personal business.

Sun Zi: the best strategy is to work on plan, the next is foreign policy, the worst is using gun.

To bring down a army, first get the general;
To win a nation, first to get their leader...

But you don't alway need a gun to do it, use candy, sweet, and something else....

If the worst would happen a war, there is always a war if both side really want it, and we humanity never late for that, it is our creation, our art.

dummy4peace Author Profile Page:

China has learned how to 'communicate' with the developed world. Taking the diplomatic and capitalistic route rather than a hardliner's approach has worked wonder for China. It's like playing Tai-Chi, a soft but powerful martial art. However, somebody has to be the hardliner and North Korea is it.

Unfortunately, I don't see why China should do more with NK. Otherwise, the Chinese advisers in NK would have done that long ago. Integration of South with North won't work unless it tips over to the Chinese side as China or Russia would both feel more comfortable with North Korea or the Caucasus as their respective buffer. Thus, it is likely that North Korea or Iran may become the lightning rod of WWIII when the time is right. British physicist Stephen Hawking once predicted that we will nuke Earth to shambles some day. The problem is that Homo sapiens haven't established a settlement anywhere in the Universe just yet. All of us will have to be a little more patient.

joshmw Author Profile Page:

Sounds like some good points from Pomfret, and there are similar ideas that show Russia also supporting the current N. Korea regime due to economic investments at stake. And Russia's attempts to raise alarms on this issue also makes one wonder if this is really such a good idea for us to get involved.

I guess bottom line is good luck getting a non partisan exchange of ideas or come to any constructive understanding, let's not forget U.S. intelligence has a lot more information than all of us combined.

Do we attack N. Korea, No!!!

Do our rivals want to get in 10 more Iraq's (Pakistan, Afghanistan, N.Korea), ABSOLUTELY!!!

TalkingHead1 Author Profile Page:


You are referring to the last older name of Seoul, "Han Yang", whose meaning is NOT "City of Han (Chinese)", as you falsely claimed. As typical of Chinese words, there are too many homonyms and it is no exception with "Han" that has several different meanings. The "Han" in "Han Yang", in this case, means "large" and "Yang" means "north". The city was so named because it was a large city north of the Han River (again, "Han" meaning "large" to mean "large river"). Nice try on "Chinizing" of Korea on your part, to depict Korea as a "breakaway province" of China which it never was.

csnels5 Author Profile Page:

There are several issues that I disagree with.

One is that there is not a converging interest between China and the United States in having the bomb. If North Korea continues with its efforts to secure a legitimate nuclear deterrent, Japan would not be slow to amend its constitution and build up its forces. There are rumblings in Japan now over how to open an option for preemption. Admittedly, this scenario will not fully come to fruition until North Korea is able to construct a delivery system and miniaturize its current technology, but by that time, it will be too late and North Korea's nuclear capability will have to be acknowledged, and therefore legitimized.

Second, China would much rather deal with a unified Korean peninsula on South Korean terms, you gave evidence to this end but drew the wrong conclusions. China is South Korea's largest trading partner and although investment may be reduced into China because it would be directed north, it would not 'crowd out' Chinese investment. If North Korea were to open to DFI, there would be more than enough investment opportunity to go around, the country is 50 years behind, you can throw as much money in there as you want, there is also a substantial amount of Chinese-Korean who would be interested in investing as well, perhaps jumpstarting China's rust-belt in Jilin and Heiliongjiang.

Third, If China does not have much leverage over the Kim regime, why not turn off the aid spout and prove it? Convincing the nations involved in the Six-Party talk that China truly can't do much to change the regime's behavior would do much to build trust, create space for alternative thinking relieve a lot of pressure on Beijing and not alter Beijing's central fp tenet of non-intervention. I am not saying that I wholly agree with those that say Beijing has a lot of power over North Korea. I don't mean to sound crass, but Kim is able to effectively starve out the outer provinces around Pyongyang and Hamheung in particularly tough times, keeping those 'that matter' in Pyongyang happy enough. North Korea is already a failed state, economically speaking. Politics is the only above ground, functioning system

One other thing, why is it that although no one actually believes that something like a G-2 ought to be instituted people always feel they have to mention that they are opposed to it, as if it actual has legs and their opposition is novel? Don't understand.

dahuanzhou Author Profile Page:

Why China Won't Do More With North Korea?
China already did enough, but, we won't take first action to make North Korea Situation change from bad to worse. What China is doing is to urge NK back to six party table.It is unlikely that China will join other country for a military action againt NK, maybe China won't stop other country from doing it, The reason for IRAQ war was because that IRAQ had"massive destructive weapons",
so, why...?

xxxxPandaAtWar Author Profile Page:

Quote: "…the depth of South Korean's cultural influence in China",…and Chinese youth being "South Koreanized"??

John, do you know what's the Chinese and Korean meaning of South Korea's capital name Seoul (being in use for millennia before the revise of several years ago)? It means City Of Han (Chinese). Now what did you say on culture influence?

If you call watching some Korean TV soap series and following the hairstyles of top pop 40’s Korean stars “the depth of culture influence” and “South Koreanized”, you must also be a big supporter, John, of “the depth of cultural influence of Nigeria in US to the point where American youth (the rap generations) are Arifanized ??

As for North Koreans, relax, John! In light of your new-found theory of “Nized”, dear leader Kim is nothing serious, since with his sunglasses on and unmistaken hairstyle, undisputedly he is only James Deanized.


Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

What the above story does not tell, something we would need to hear from John Pomfret, is to what extent it is considered in the best interests of this country that the overall situation in the Korean peninsula remains virtually unchanged. Hence the latest American "position" that 1. the problem has to do essentially with North Korea and 2. it is for China to do something about it.

The fundamental question is in fact how to go about ending the Korean war in terms all the countries concerned, in the region, could live with. That excludes the U.S., given it is not an Asian country, only a permanent holy substance disturber in Asia.

Ending the Korean war is an international task which is highly political in nature and regional in scope. Above all, it requires political vision and skills, something difficult to find in a country where, for so long, diplomacy has been replaced by Christian fundamentalism and by the devotion to both permanent conflict and perpetual war for profit. Diplomacy is a complex business; it is restricted to the truly gifted, for it has very little, if anything, in common with playing war games sitting in front of a screen, longing for the stone age.

To summarize, the fact that U.S. foreign policy is evidently anaemic with regard to the Korean peninsula is a clear indication that the U.S. is quite pleased with the situation as it presently exists there; it can indeed continue to use it to "justify" its interference, initiatives and interventions in Asia at a profit, $omething not to be neglected, in times of deepening recession, no matter what the rhetoric says.

jimarush Author Profile Page:

Why is America still in South Korea and why should we give a hoot about what happens in there? The communist threat, if ever there was one, is none existent. We spend billions of dollars in South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. I ask a simple question, what for?

We are going bankrupt in America. We are in a severe recession that could turn into a depression. Instead of concentrating on repairing our financial institutions so that we can help others in the future we instead pour billions if not trillions of dollars into these disparate countries. How long will America keep these countries propped up?

America should cut aid to these countries immediately. Then, if North Korea wants to continue its aggressive ways, then it can confront China and South Korea. If Afghanistan does not like the religious fanaticism that the Taliban is pushing, let them stand on their own hind legs and fight them. If Iraq is dominated by the Shiite or Sunnis, who cares? If Israel wants to continue settlement expansion and refuse to negotiate honestly with the Palestinians, let them pay their own way.

If any of these countries dare to confront the America militarily, well, just ask the Taliban what happens when you attack America.

ghormax2 Author Profile Page:

I have a proposal that could be a good alternative (because it would please China as it would not challenge the balance of power but would remove the North Korean threat):

Let China put North Korea under a Chinese protectorate (or perhaps UN protectorate under Chinese leadership). The Chinese would depose of the dangerous and unpredictable leadership and they would not have to fear about refugees (they could keep the borders closed) and also not about an extension of American influence. After that, North Korea would slowly be prepared for reunification under a neutral Korea without American or Chinese soldiers. This transition period would require economic development in North Korea to lessen the burden on South Korea. I would think ten or even twenty years are necessary.

HAL-9000 Author Profile Page:

I agree somewhat with the observation of China's interests regarding the DPRK's fate run contrary to ours, and to the rest of East Asia's, frankly.

But what the CIA terms "blowback" could come back to haunt China in this instance. The one thing that's looking increasingly tenuous over the longer term is the notion of Japan and the ROK not having their own nuclear weapons. Those two nations - relatively speaking - have been models of nations with the physical capacity to easily construct such weapons if they wished, yet have not developed such capacities.

The US nuclear umbrella has been a primary factor in that. However the USA's policy was formulated to protect these countries from the large, strategic powers in East Asia, not from the basket-case of the DPRK. If I were a Japanese or South Korean citizen, at this point I probably want my nation to at least have a nuclear deterrent capable of reaching the North, independent of the USA's Doomsday Machine. I doubt China likes that idea. Such a policy of "counter-proliferation" in East Asia would motivate the PRC to re-calibrate its interests in this situation, to say the least. Russians, too.

I personally don't see what's wrong with that policy, the NPT is obviously a failure...especially in the context of East Asia. All the free countries are unarmed, all the authoritarian actors have nuclear weapons. One of the authoritarians routinely threatens to attack their neighbors.

Nuclear weapons are like guns and the NPT has been like gun-control legislation, the end result is only the cops and the criminals have the guns...everyone else just gets to be a victim.

verifytrust Author Profile Page:

Another reason why China won't do much more with North Korea. North Korea is a very useful proxy instrument for the Chinese to counter US and Japanese influence. The Chinese can at short notice stir up North Korean government to distract and keep off balance USA and East Asian countries whenever it feels its interests are being thwarted. North Korea is a very useful red herring.

panspartan Author Profile Page:

It's a shame NK feel so isolated, with the opportunities available to be a leader in the world sharing the burden of objectives confronting all nations.

We need a new global constitution of inclusive potential to the full capability of our ability as intelligent beings...if the offers being made to NK were fair, why, have they rejected the opportunity.

In a recent survey 99% of people on earth said they don't want nukes - is democracy dead, was it ever alive?

How long will the ice age in compatible relativity to venture last, when can we have a system that is result driven for the people of earth, instead of result driven for ego driven morons inflicting death.

Once you reach the conclusion everything achieved is inadequate and false, the sooner we define the sustainable values of common universal designation to a compatible transparent humane global system of consensus, to validate and incorporate a higher standard of living developmental consensus to the developmental potentials of a sustainable future of common ownership, the sooner the world gels and the threats diminish. Change cannot be achieved in isolation, security is a global issue for everyone in more ways than one and the failure of nations to work together on a democratic future of certainty, is a failure of leaders to represent their people.

I think all internation talks, should be transparent and not independently controlled by global bullies making a profit out of human degregation to satisfy a market with no common value to the integrity of life as a whole.

I think all nations and all religions should be put on trial for failure and they will continue to fail if they don't devolve power to an honorable balance with morality, that defines and compliments the credibility of law and justice, to the human shareholders sharing a planet founded corruptive ideas.

ripvanwinkleincollege Author Profile Page:

At the end of World War Two, Germany gathered up all its nuclear materials and packed them into a submarine which they sent toward Japan. Luckily, it was intercepted. If North Korea collapsed, it could easily send all or part of its nuclear arsenal into the eagerly waiting hands of Iran. Perhaps it has already done so with part of it, how would we know?

sing1 Author Profile Page:

Kim is trying to protect the legacy of the Kim Dynasty. North Korean has been told that South Korea is occupied by US imperialism and Kim and his family has been leading their country to defend the honor of the Korean people with no help from outside and all the suffering will be worth it if they can force American to the negotiation table one on one for a formal cease fire agreement. The nuclear and missile testing are part of show of force for the benefits of their people. I do not think any American government will be too eager to give Kim the satisfaction. Six party talk is the way to show t North Korea that they have no seat at the big table. Neither China nor South Korea likes to pick up the tap of saving the North Korean economy if it suddenly collapses. The biggest threat is that Kim might decide to sell nuclear material and/or missile technology to the enemy of US. The key is in the hand of US government. All problems will be solved if Clinton is sent to North Korea to formalize the peace agreement between the two countries. It is as simple as that.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The best way to solve this problem is that US would sit down and talk with NK.

There always two ways to solve the problem, a easy way and hard way, says my wife.

Superpower leads with justice and small nations stand in trust. -Laozi

csintala79 Author Profile Page:

Too bad we couldn't go back 150 years and keep Admiral Perry from kicking Japan's closed door open. At the same time we could have resisted and worked to convince the other Western powers to resist waking China from its somnolence, leaving the emperor living comfortably behind the walls of the Forbidden City. Neither country wanted anything to do with modern technology, industrialization or progress of any kind. We forced it on them; shame on us. Now we are reaping what we sowed, and we are complaining? Who developed nuclear weapons anyway? Wah! What a bunch of cry babies. We need to be mature enough to live with the results of our actions; we certainly trashed the neighborhood. It is disingenuous of us to pretend we are shocked and surprised over the course of events. Passing the problem to China seems like a graceful way of bowing out of the mess we have made; Korea is their problem as Mexico is ours. We need to tend to our own fences.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To TalkingHead1,

No way. We like hold US debt.
For our children sake:) ha ha

So at least our children, the future Chinese can stand proudly in front of future US citizens:) ha ha

Don't blame on us, American children, your government and senators sold you guys to us.

actually it is even,

many US people bought Chinese babe girls, now the boys would hold some debt for this, either money or girl:)

apn3206 Author Profile Page:

@JHTLAG1 - Perhaps there's another answer. It could be that our politicians realize full well that our interests and those of China do not always coincide. However, they have to make public statements about the progress of our relationships with other countries or risk looking like they're not doing their jobs. So, they have the choice between telling the unvarnished truth, thereby risking popular dissatisfaction, attacks from the opposition, and unnecessary deterioration in foreign relations; and selectively telling the truth to avoid at least some of these problems.

TalkingHead1 Author Profile Page:

Here's a great idea. Let's let China annex the entire Korean peninsula as a total repayment of our debt to them and to borrow more loans from them. Sound facetious? Under the current pathetic circumstance of our economy and how much we became indebted to and dependent on China economically, it doesn't sounds so wild and ridiculous as it sounds, although most of us want that, at all.

wikhiho Author Profile Page:

Beacuase the world is nasty... and nobody can lead the international policies...

wikhiho Author Profile Page:

You see many US soldiers die in Irak and Afganistan, also the foreign citizens die for his blame (Barack Obama)... Combat Terrorism is just a trick by US policy... And What's on the nuclear missile in Irak?

wikhiho Author Profile Page:

I think that China doesn't want to involve about internal affairs of another countries... I hold that US doesn't a leader on the world... Just the UN can put his international policy...

The president Obama is just a International advertisement around the world... He's benign...
And sometimes his international policy is a trick and trap...

farklol Author Profile Page:

I could almost see the Chinese Politburo Standing Committee silently praying for lil' Kim to keel over.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The problem is the NK does not threaten China, but US and SK.

Chinese have no righteous title and call to answer their challenge.

They are directly challenging US and SK.

So US can't drag China into it.

The only thing China can do is remain calm and provide good verbal suggestions to have both nations find a peaceful solution.

If NK and US started a fight, then China could only openly verbally condemn the violent acts of both nations.

China can do nothing about this, it is not China.
It's NK!
And China is not world leader, US is.
IF US really gets a declaration of NK for war, then what's stopping US? Sometimes you have to learn some features from Bush.

If NK want a talk, they know what to do;
If US feels threatened, then US would go Rockin Roll.

One only negotiates with those who want to reason.

Zened Author Profile Page:

China uses North Korea against the USA and its allies. North Korea is like China's rabid pet:

The democracies are insane to allow China to continue to allow its mad-dog North Korea to roam around off the leash threatening all and sundry.

China should have 300% import duties imposed on any goods it wants to sell in the democracies until it deals with the Frankenstein it has created in North Korea.

China may as well be threatening the democracies itself.

Then see how long North Korea threatens war.

dios Author Profile Page:

"But if given the choice between a nuclear-armed North Korea and no North Korea at all, Beijing will go with the latter."

I think Mr. Pomfret means to say Beijing perfers the former, as in the first scenario of having North Korea with nukes, over the latter, as having no DPNK.

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:

What Pomfret ignores in his article is the NK's need for the bomb. Their method of extracting concessions, like free food and fuel oil, is to threaten war, with concessions the price for a reduction in tension. The NK now feel particularly embolden now that they have the bomb and not just a large army to threaten with. Their actions this week have shown they are willing to go beyond previous actions. They feel empowered but are certainly on the same course, to extract concessions. But it won't be just food and fuel oil this time. They now have a bomb pointed at us. Sorta like a mugger who would just threaten to beat you up for your watch now having a 45 Magnum and wanting your watch, your wallet and car keys. The NK will make unreasonable demands in the coming weeks. My predictions:
1) The US must remove all forces from the south.
2) The NK will lay claim to all disputed territory and waters.
3) A permanent supply of food and fuel oil.
4) Nuclear power plants to prove power (really).
5) A non-agression pact with the US.

When these concessions are rejected, as they should be, small incursions will begin to happen, small fire fights, a few ships attacked, requiring the US to deploy ships in the vicinity for the forseeable future and maybe even increase its forces in SK and Japan. And this will not stop. There is only one solution, a coup in the north. And all intelligence agencies in the world know this including many in the north who do not want to see their cushie lifestyles change. Expect Kim to get "sick" in a few months and a successor will take over, tensions will quietly lessen, and in a year we'll wonder what all the fuss was about in 2009.

China can end this, but not tomorrow. The Chinese, unlike the US, look and plan for the longterm. I'm sure the planning has already begun. Its not only a choice between a nuclear NK and a SK takeover. There are many options and all start with removing Kim and putting in place someone who will serve China's interests and be obedient. I'm sure NK is full of such people just waiting for the chance.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

The problem is the we Chinese just don't wanna fight another war, unless our nation is been separated or attacked.

NK problem is btwn US and NK, actually NK. If US feels like NK violates the international law, then US must take action; if NK wants war, surely those leaders know how to invite a war. This way is quicker to have their people liberated when the war starts.

But please do drag China into this mess, do we have enough problem?

Chinese leaders and current gov's job is to figure out how to bring a better life for their people, to improve economy and environment.

US are the leader of the world, US knows what to do to NK, please don't let Chinese die on a foreign land, and don't let Chinese fight a war that result is already clear.

US does possess the technology to disarm nukes from long distance in a short time. And I'm sure NK knows.

It only takes two nations to fight a war, NK and US, they don't need China there, it is not Olympic, there is no gold medal in there.

If NK really wants it, US can provide.

I don't believe Obama is soft person, he is a gentleman, but Confucius said, if a gentleman got mad, then he would make the whole world peaceful.

We all should meditate on this.

jhtlag1 Author Profile Page:

What bugs me is that I've known for a long time that China's interest is not the same as ours; it's pretty obvious from even my untrained eye. Yet our politicians keep talking the happy talk like we can convince China to lean on NK yada, yada, yada. Are they being naive, or just plain cynical feeding us the happy talk for some political ends? (Sorta like Social Security, Perhaps to defer having to deal with hard choices?) Am I smarter than the politicans?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

No! China will not send PLA or anyone into NK if NK gov. invites a war.

Another suggestion, that US can send Mr. Pomfret to work side by side with James Bond 007 to do a mission.


Disarm all nukes at 0000:)

Hand capture NK tyrant leaders using Shaolin KungFu that John learned in China from his Chinese girlfriends:)

Bring back his young and pretty NK female agents and help all of them for applying US Green Cards:)

It is a little dangerous, but your nation needs you, your people and the world!

infoshop Author Profile Page:

Let starts a new national pastime: China Bashing. I am all for it because our old national pastime "baseball" has too many droid issue. it doesn't look good.

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