Pomfret's China

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A Changing Chinese Tune on North Korea?

There are surprising noises coming from China these days about North Korea. One influential Chinese academic thinks China's policy -- long supportive of the hermit kingdom -- might be changing.

The government has been pretty careful about what it has said and what is done. But the tone from China's scholars has changed significantly from a few years back when they would eschew on-the-record quotes for anything that was even mildly controversial. That means something; I don't know exactly what but it might be a sign of change.

Case in point is Zhu Feng's recent piece. Zhu is a political heavyweight. He's the deputy director of the Center for International & Strategic Studies at Peking Univesity.

Zhu basically argues that 1) North Korea's claim that it carried out two nuclear tests because the UN Security Council criticized it for its sat/missile test is bogus. He cites "Chinese experts" who tell him that North Korea would have needed six months to prepare a test. That means, Zhu said, that North Korea planned to undertake these tests all along.

This leads Zhu to a pretty significant, and I'd argue newsworthy, conclusion about China's role in all this. China, he said, had always believed that North Korea's nuclear program was negotiable. That Pyongyang might be willing to give up its nukes as long as its economic and security interests could be met. Now, Zhu writes, all the evidence "points in the opposite direction. In fact, the recent nuclear test by the DPRK is not just a slap in the face of China, but a sobering wake-up call for the Chinese leadership to face up to the malignant nature of their North Korean counterparts."

And then the kicker, which gets into the argument I made in a previous post:
China, Zhu said, has tried to juggle its twin concerns about North Korea -- de-nuclearization and preventing instability of the Kim Jong-il regime. But, he writes, once North Korea clarified that it had no intention to give up its nuclear weapons and instead upped the nuclear ante by escalating military tension on the Korean Peninsula, "Beijing's longstanding and delicately balanced policy toward Pyongyang became a casualty of the second nuclear test from its neighbor of the North."

So what is China going to do? Zhu thinks China's policy could change. "The reason is simple: the DPRK's possession of nuclear weapons was not scary as long as it was believed to be temporary and could be eventually eliminated. North Korea's secretive conspiracy to become a de jure nuclear power, however, has recklessly crossed Beijing's 'bottom line.'" Zhu points out that Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie joined the international community on May 27 to decry North Korea's nuclear test. The PLA has historically been the biggest friend of the Kim Dynasty.

"This is a significant sign," Zhu writes, "that China's policy toward the North might shift."
And with a veritable toddler -- Kim Jong-un, the 25-year-old son of Kim Jong-il's third wife Ko Yong-hee (d. 2004) -- being readied for Lil Kim's throne, Beijing might have an opportunity. Stay tuned.

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Comments (35)

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

There is a good way and quick and peaceful way to solve NK's Nuke problem.

US willing to sit down and sign agreement that move all US troops put of SK and NK destroy their own Nuke, and promise peacefully seek unification.

and in future, Korea seeks nuke for energy purpose, then they sign agreement and follow international rules to control it.

Would US agree to do it? I don't think so.

There is old Chinese saying: "People need the person who tied up the knot to loose it."

Korean also know this phrase.

Nuke is a way that most nation will solve global warming after 30 or 20 years.

But Nuke is not cause for world peace, it is unfairness of these world leaders.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To TalkingHead1,

Why not believe something good?

If we put our foot into NK's leader and people shoe, then we may think and act differently.

Their country been separated by military power of other nations, by UN.

Korean people received no justice from UN for all these years, but UN still consider them a bad example, which is perfect reason for any leader to use this to brainwash and isolate their people.

Any action of a nation, whether war or union are all premeditated.

NK and SK fighting a civil war, UN did not make them peaceful, UN simply torn them apart, one family was torn apart.

that created the problem of today, that caused tha mentality of their leaders hold bitterness and hatred for UN and SK.

If UN willing to change the attitude of separation of Korea to union and peace, I think any Korean would buy it, even KimII, or any leaders were so aggressive would have no righteous reason to threaten for war or preparing for war for all these year.

UN cannot break some house apart and keep those family members be quiet.

But, it may not be a one day or one year or one decade's time to make separated nation reunited, but people can always work and sit and talk peacefully, UN cut the peaceful road so give NK leaders reason to starve their people to make weapons.

It is 21 century. The world must seek other method to live and solve matters peaceful.

The war is not planned by one day, nor peace; people must work for it.

One example:
Mr. Obama willing to sit down to channel with Iran, Iran in weeks changed their enmity attitude toward friendship. Their people and many leaders willing to work for peace with US. Obama won some their leaders and their people too.

Isn't it better than hold grudge?

There are always two ways to solve a problem, a easier way and difficult way. When you show you are better than someone and show off your big-thingy that make others to hate you or ignore you.

Like my attitude, only a few reply me, most ignore me, but I was born to be ignored.

alex65 Author Profile Page:


Thank you very much for your insightful opinion piece "After Tiananmen, China Wedded Force With Freedom" today. I do not see many articles with such a deep understanding on China's history and reality than yours.

China wonderful economical progress of the last 30 year has lifted millions of people out of utter porverty. I would not mind the implied "social contract" between the government and the people if I were in their shoes. However conventional wisdom tells us that the interest of government does not usually align with the governed. Checks and balances form the foundation for a sustainable form of stable government. I would believe China is no exception and a Chinese government of checks and balances would be good to the people of China in the long run.

I wish to believe that Tiananmen played a tragic and heroic part to help form China's path of progress today. I also wish the people of China remember Tiananmen, just like they all remember the natioal humiliations they collectively suffered in the hands of implerilists, so that another Tiananmen will never happen again.

alex65 Author Profile Page:


Thank you very much for your level headed reasoning with subtance.

The atrocity committed by the chinese communist government in 1989 is defenseless. It does not matter even if the demonstrators wanted to end the communists rule (in fact this was not a goal). Of course the chinese communists would want to hold on to their powser NO MATTER WHAT. They had by then destroyed countless lives of the ordinary chinese, to them, what was killing another hundreds of their subjects.

I wish to believe the cruelty displayed refects the evil nature of the chinese communism system instead of the general chinese population.

Chan1 Author Profile Page:


I have never doubted the American Constitution is an admirable piece of work.

What I am debating about is how we should view the incident 20years ago. And that in turn would depend on whether my believe about the consequences is correct or not.

In case you have an open mind, this may shed some light :

Both Gene Sharp and his assistant Bruce Jenkins were in Beijing at the time of the demonstrations 20 years ago. They were the same pair from the organisation that gave us the color revolutions all across Eastern Europe. It is hardly convincing that they just happened to be there on a holiday. If you follow the developments of that period closely, it should not be too hard to see that there was a pattern in the evolution of the events and the demands.

And just in case if you want to see what Gene Sharp himself said, here is a link :


pug_ster Author Profile Page:


You said "I understand your point but I see that political relationship with NK disappearing with what they have recently done. Once NK is isolated from China both politically and economically, China will see NK as a liability. I think they already do. The political relationship with SK is based on its defenses against NK, which requires an American presence. China can get rid of the NK liability, reduce the need for the Americans to be in SK and thus improve relations with SK. Its a win-win for China to support reunification by deposing the NK government."

As Pomfret says in the other thread about North Korea, stability and containment with North Korea is probably their 1st, 2nd and 3rd priority. Starving out North Korea or threatening of getting rid of North Korea is a threat to the stability. Its latest episode of nuclear test and a result of temporary suspension of relations with North Korea is probably just a warning from China to make sure that they keep North Korea in a short leash.

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:

Chan1 wrote: "As I said in the earlier post, if you accept my point about the consequences of not doing what the government did, then the event may as well be viewed as a humanistic cause to save 10s of millions of lives. In other words, this would have been a good cause, to save lives."

This is the point I was responding too. Sorry for the confusion. My point is that though the event "may" have lead to a civil war or other violent consequence there was little evidence as I saw it at the time, and even if the possiblity was valid the government may have had a right to contain it, but sending in troops, with tanks, attacking peaceful demonstrators is over the top. You cannot have in your Constitution the right to demonstrate (Article 35) and then use possible negative consequences to force that demonstartion to end, in bloodshed. The state MUST live by its Constitution or the Constitution is meaningless.

In America we have come to terms with the wrongness of putting down peaceful demonstrations by force because they violated those demonstrator's rights. It seems in China, though the Constitution gives people the right to demonstrate, it was ignored 20 years ago and continues to be ignored by those who consider what was done then to have been correct. What is the point of having a Constitution if it can be violated at any time by the state? But as I read the Chinese Constitution I see that it was written for the protection of the state. That is directly opposite of the American Constitution, which was written for the protection of the people, including protection of the people from the state.

If you believe the state is more important than the people who live in it, then what happened 20 years ago should be supported. But in America, where our revolution overthrew an autocratic state, human rights and the limits of the government's power are a major part of our Constitution, so much so that the government only has the right to the power granted it in the Constitution, and no more. So when we see peaceful demonstrators attacked by their own nation's military might, and against their own Constitution's Article 35, we can only assume the Chinese state has no real limits to its powers over its own people.

TalkingHead1 Author Profile Page:

Back to the topic.

GENERALYUEFEI, I wish I could share your optimism about peaceful reunification of Korea, but it seems too unrealistic, considering how having a democratically united Korea as an immediate neighbor could threaten the communist regime of China as a democratic tumor that could eventually spread to China. It definitely would not want either the Korean or the U.S. troops stationed at the current Yalu River border between China and North Korea, because even if it poses no real threat to China, the Korean military presence, alone, would still be considered an "offensive" posturing by its tiny, disrespectful neighbor. So, at least for the foreseeable future, it seems that, for China, having the sometimes belligerent and embarrassing North Korea as its close ally and a buffer state is still better than having a unified democratic Korea that may contribute towards the internal political unrest within China in the future. At the very least, when push comes to shove, I believe that China WILL invade and occupy North Korea, if a collapse of the North Korean government seems imminent, and will instill another government which is more obedient to China, just like what the U.S. did to Iraq. And I seriously doubt that the U.S. could do anything to stop China from taking such measure in North Korea. We also cannot discount Russia as a critical factor in the geopolitical matters concerning the Korean peninsula, since it, too, shares a border with North Korea, albeit much smaller than China-Korea border.

Chan1 Author Profile Page:


You seem like a knowledgeable person. But I am not exactly sure where you are coming from. Are you responding to something in my 2 articles, or just responding to what I said here in my previous comment post here?

If you are responding to my earlier comment here, I am not sure if your arguments are valid. I guess the essence of your arguments in relation to the incident 20 years ago is focused on China's treatment of its people. But that can hardly be a valid counter-argument to what I said.

As I said in the earlier post, if you accept my point about the consequences of not doing what the government did, then the event may as well be viewed as a humanistic cause to save 10s of millions of lives. In other words, this would have been a good cause, to save lives.

You are of course free to disagree with me about my believes in regards to the consequences (which I am basing on for my conclusion). But the business about the treatment of its people doesn't actually counter any of the things I have said.

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:


One cannot excuse a crime because good came after it. Do you excuse a murderer who then gives money to charity or helps build a school? What has happened in China over the past 20 years is no excuse for the actions 20 years ago anymore than the brutal American government actions to break up peaceful civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s was good because today America is a more equal society. We should look back 20 years ago in China and 40 years ago in America and say "shame on the government". In America we do that. Why can't China?

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:


Read the Chinese Constitution but pay particular attention to Article 35. Also, read the American Constitution and you will see why Americans were appauled by what happened 20 years ago. The Chinese Constitution describes how the people are required to serve and defend the state. The American Constitution describes how the state is required to serve and defend the people.

The most important Ammendment in the American Constitution is the 10th Ammendment, which says that all powers the state may have are outlined in the Constitution and the state may only have those powers. The state may not make up new powers not prescribed in the Constitution. The Chinese Constitution however describes how the state may do as it pleases as long as the goal is to strengthen the state.

I can understand why China has this policy. A long history of exploitation would naturally create a culture of protection and defense. But it is time for China to reexamine its treatment of its own people, the people who it says all power derives from. A government should never be more important than its people. And anyone who reads the Chinese constitution, even Chinese, should be bothered by the term "democratic dictatorship".

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

How can a book reverse 20 years miracle?

A few days ago, the book ‘Zhao Ziyang secret memoirs’ was published in English and Chinese, encouraged the enthusiasm of western media. It obviously tends to credit the ‘democracy movement’ in 1989 and deny the Chinese way of reform and open.

However, facts speak louder than words. The fact that China has been developing excellently set their rumor in vain, though western media advocated the book.

After the Tiananmen event, China didn’t degenerate to the age of pro-reform as predicted by those so-called democratic heralds. On the contrary, China concentrates all power and spirit on economic construction in the 20-year stable period, and manages to make a miracle of continuous fast growth. China also makes lots of progress in political reform.

At this time, if we reverse the evaluation of the ‘democratic movement’, it will make disunities among people’s thinking and confrontations among social groups. Then how could China rise in such a situation?

No peace, no stability; No stability, no development; No solidarity, no power.

So, we hope those active media who advocate the book and the event can review history from an objective perspective, report the event with impartiality. Such a book cannot reverse the event, and cannot reverse China’s development.

dahuanzhou Author Profile Page:

I don't believe the logic that" a friend will be the freind forever,an enemy will be the enemy for ever".China has already done enough for Korea,But China's support to Korea also need good reasons.Basically, our support will strenthen the stability of North-east Asia, to promote democracy,peace, and to improve people's livelihood,and won't support a feudalist and war-like trouble-maker..

Chan1 Author Profile Page:

Since there are 3 main conversations here: one about Korea, the other about June 4, and the 3rd about democracy, I will choose the 2nd and the 3rd one (ie, June 4 and Democracy).


First, the June 4 incident :

I happen to belong to the camp that firmly believes that had Deng Xiaoping not do what he did, China would have broken up and gone into civil war. A few hundred (or even a thousand) dead although very sad, is nothing compared to millions of dead and tens of millions homeless.

Many probably don't agree with me. But that is exactly what I firmly believe. Therefore from my perspective, one can really view the event as a humanistic cause to save 10s of millions of lives plus a nation. In that case, despite the tragic ending for some, one may still wonder if it's more appropriate to express gratitude than to ask for appologies as many people are doing.

But that's just my personal opinion. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.


Second, on the topic of democracy, in case if anyone is interested, I have 2 articles on my blogsite on the topic of democracy that you may find interesting. (The 2nd one was only published last night)

Please feel free to leave comments.


Article 1 : "Topics on Democracy (Part 1) — Democracy War Game"

Article 2 : "Topics on Democracy (Part 2) — A Model for the 21st Century"


Also, GIBO :

Relax. Chinese aren't like that. Go to China and see the place for yourself. It may do you some good.

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

Student peer in Tiananmen event: history will prove the party was right

I am a contemporary with student died in Tiananmen event in 1989, and I witnessed all through the event. Of course it’s not humane to shoot student, but is it heroic to kill PLA soldier? Soldiers are also born and raised by parents!

Students then didn’t know when it’s best to stop. They were used by Chai Ling, Wang Dan and other so-called leaders, but none of these leaders sacrificed as Tan Sitong and Liang Qichao, so well as the professor Fang Lizhi who runaway into embassy of USA. Recently, they even muddle among with those forces of Tibet independence, Taiwan independence and East Turkistan. We cannot imagine, how China would have degenerated and split if these ‘leaders’ had prevailed! But history cannot be assumed.

I lament the students laid down on the square, and I’m ashamed for those so-called leaders and professors! They should have died instead! They were the slaughters whose hands are dropping blood of students. They are the sinners of history!

History will prove everything eventually. Right and wrong of 6-4, at least result in a conclusion now: the handling of CCP was correct.

Anything must go through a process of chaos, and advanced to the right way by correct mistakes. CCP is no exception. It’s forgettable to make mistakes in the phase of time changing. Corruption is not exclusive in China. Every country, every political party in the world is the same, trying to rooting out corruption. Democracy also has its flaw and cannot be built in one move. It need a long term of development in China.

So, I personally think the Tiananmen movement, in the sake of anti-corruption and democracy, was a mistake itself.

shane_beck Author Profile Page:

My Move:

"Would Tokyo and Seoul like to discuss nuclear weapons development to counter North Korean weapons?"

I doubt that if the U.S and China ignore the problem it will go away. After all they've been ignoring the problem for the last decade or so.

gibo Author Profile Page:

North Korea is doing a dance, and its really offensive to many of us westerners, but who does she dance for?
Does she dance for herself or for another?
What if at the end of the Opium Wars China swore an oath that one day, no matter what happened, she would payback the children of the Anglos, the terrible Anglos who caused so much loss of face through the invasion of China.
With this one great oath at heart, she there and then embarked upon the road to build the largest army the world had ever seen on order the level the Anglos for their insult.
In behind the scenes, bit by bit, she manipulated and plotted and built that one vast army.
She engineered the Korean conflict and destabilized the Korean peninsular and for over 60 years she set east against west in order to create a great distraction in the region as she quietly build the great army.
Even today North Korea to dances for the west as part of the great distraction and the west is amazed and western eyes are always on North Korea…and the old dragon builds and builds and builds for the great day of the great leveling.
Would this explain the great mysterious arms build up that Condoleezza Rice went to ask China about several years ago?
Is it all about payback for the Opium Wars?

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

I don't think any Chinese want to see a separate Korea.
I think most Korean are hoping to see Korea united eventually.
I don't think any Korean or Chinese want to see Korea been united thru a violent way, or people die due to such process.

Chinese and Korean are culturally rooted very closely for all history.

I don't think NK leaders want to kill their own people, own family for unification.

But fate and history have done unfairness for Korea and Korean people, first Japan, then civil war, and Korea been separated by all the mess of battle of Greats Russia and US, their people their nation never had their chance to solve their own problem.

There is a deep sense in all Korean people.
Chinese got into Korea 1950, were forced by US dropping bomb on Yalu river and afraid General Macarthur that 5star war criminal invading Manchuria, and Soviet Russia about to jump in fighting on our land... and Chinese paid heavy price as same as Korean, one example: my grandma wailing everyday that her son been 17 got on the train to Korea to fight the US, after one month her eyes were blind, could not even read Title Print of Newspaper... so many Chinese died, many Korean died, Americans....

Why not let Korean people solve their own people's problem, what China can do is give verbal advices and blessing for all of them.

If we all believe NK and SK are the same people and one family, let them deal their own problem. No one in the world would drop a-bomb on their family, not even using sword or fist.

But if other people gets into family business, that creates tension and problem, make simple things so difficult.

Korea is not Middle East, they don't consider each other the same people, whether thru culture, religion or language, not same root.

I just don't believe Korean people would kill each other, maybe we all give them a break, and they can talk to each other.

In fact, China should lead on this issue, not by political and military influence that US do.
China can show how a separate nation been united thru a peaceful way, Taiwan and Mainland, we can develop economy, fix governing system, and set example and lead and inspire. That's what China should do. We have to figure out way solve things peacefully, we have to learn from last century.

blargan Author Profile Page:

Yeah, scheduling issues, like an unannounced nuclear test (some sources have said the PRC received a notice one hour before detonation).

"No, there is not a suspension of exchange. The one visit that was reportedly 'canceled' was in fact only postponed due to some scheduling issues."

Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page:

Jimeglrd8, your comments are interesting. I do not agree though China will experience significant turmoil in the near-future.

Much of the media in the United States and Great Britain continue to strongly criticize the Chinese leaders for not confronting the legacy of the tragic events in Beijing in early June, twenty years ago. From what I have read in books about recent Chinese history, most of the western media have had an overly simplistic understanding of what really happened. For example, the students, especially in the beginning, were demanding an end to corruption, nepotism and improvement in university living conditions more than calling for democracy. Deng's unfortunate decision to use the army to end the protests is considered by some historians to have been at least partly influenced by the persecution he endured at the hands of Red Guards and Mao during the Cultural Revolution. Deng, as most Americans misread the "lessons" of World War I, Munich and World War II, inaccurately associated the student demonstrators in Beijing with the disorder, chaos caused by thuggish Red Guards.

The leaders and often most people in many countries usually do not want to ackowledge wrongdoing by their governments in the recent past. The Obama administration seems determined to whitewash the human rights abuses and torture policies of the Bush-Cheney regime. The Nixon administration and most of the public tried to ignore reports of the My Lai massacre. The United States government has never come to terms with the tens of thousands of Vietnamese and Iraqi civilians killed as a result of its military actions.

Japanese leaders and most people there continue to deny the reality of Japanese atrocities in China, as well as other countries between the 1930's to 1945 that rival in scope the Holocaust. Chiang Kai-shek's military forces killed hundreds of demonstrators in Taiwan in February 1947. Thousands of leftists were imprisoned or killed afterward. This event was essentially a taboo subject in Taiwan for decades.

Therefore the reluctance among Chinese leaders to openly discuss, let alone ackowledge in retrospect any wrongdoing, during the events of June 1989 is hardly surprising. There has been since 1979 a limited acknowledgment in China of the suffering caused by the Cultural Revolution. Within ten to twenty years there may a similar beginning in China to allow some open discussion in the media, films, etc. about the events in Beijing twenty years ago.

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:


I understand your point but I see that political relationship with NK disappearing with what they have recently done. Once NK is isolated from China both politically and economically, China will see NK as a liability. I think they already do. The political relationship with SK is based on its defenses against NK, which requires an American presence. China can get rid of the NK liability, reduce the need for the Americans to be in SK and thus improve relations with SK. Its a win-win for China to support reunification by deposing the NK government.

pug_ster Author Profile Page:


I would agree with you but I think there's an issue with your statement. The relationship between China and South Korea is mostly economic, whereas the relationship between China and North Korea is mostly political. Most likely when South and North Korea merge South Korea will likely have more political influence and this will not sit well with China. Unless China and South Korea can forge strong political ties, China would rather prefer North Korea as a buffer state.

jimeglrd8 Author Profile Page:

I first came to China in 1988 and have lived in Beijing now for more than four years. I have spent much time studying Chinese history and contemporary Chinese politics. Nevertheless, I remain a Democrat on some issues and a Republican on others. I lived in Hong Kong during the massacres in Beijing in May and June of 1989 and still harbor strong revulsion towards the hard liners in the Chinese government who violated what Confucius said about Governments who kill their own citizens. I am also angry about the current Chinese government blocking of You Tube and other web sites. Nevertheless, I like China and the Chinese. The Chinese are the most "capitalist", hardest working people in the world.
I know that the Chinese are very angry about the actions of the DPRK. I think the Chinese are hoping that the DPRK will soon have new leadership which will move towards re-unification of the two Koreas. That reunification is currently blocked by the US and the more than 50,000 US troops in South Korea.
I have taught thousands of students at China's best universities during the last four years. Many of them just do not like Koreans and none of them like the DPRK.
China will go through great turmoil during the next few years. Most young Chinese students are intensely nationalistic and love China. They also love Hu Jintao and Wen Jinbao but strangely enough that love doesn't extend to the Chinese government. Most believe that Hu and Wen are powerless figureheads. There is also tension in the Peoples Liberation Army between the younger, better educated officer corp and the older officers. In May and June of 1989 many soldiers in the PLA were executed for refusing to obey orders and kill Chinese citizens. Soldiers from units outside Beijing had to be brought in to fight there way through the streets of Beijing to get to Tiananmen Square. Many Beijingers still harbor grudges against the government for the killings that took place in streets all over Beijing as the troops fought their way to Tiananmen.
When my students talk about June of 1989, and here in Beijing they do, I tell them that the US government would have done the same thing. I was in DC during the big Vietnam War demonstrations {Mobilizations]in 1968 and 1969. I remember when Nixon surrounded the White Houses with buses. I was sleeping on the mall with thousands of others when the Mall was cleared by the US military. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if demonstrators had refused to leave the mall or sought to attack the white house that US troops would have fired on demonstrators. Governments are always willing to kill to stay in control.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

To fzdybel,

Then, we ignore it too. They are not Chinese soldiers stationed in SK.

Maybe UN didn't let the Korean solve their own issue, but Nuke would.

My move is:

"Congratulations! KimII! Eventually Korea could have some environmental energy project done. Korea may be reunited in near future, and eventually Korea don't need American, Chinese or UN to solve their own problem. This way, it forces NK and SK to say down to talk."

That's my move.

Maersk Author Profile Page:

Can you, John Pomfret, the despicable goon of WP have anything interesting to write about China?

bevjims1 Author Profile Page:

China has two problems:
1) The realization, as this article accurately reports, that NK will not negotiate away its nukes but instead use the intent to use them as leverage to get what it wants.
2) Kim has named his young son his successor.

The first problem is obvious and China can use its own leverage to maipulate how NK handles its nukes. But the second problem, which may not seem much of a problem, is worse. Should Kim relinquish power tomorrow a 25 year old, with little political or governing experience will become the leader of an autocratic regime with nukes. The Chinese wisely look to youth as being full of energy and spirit, but wisdom comes with age, and little Kim will have little wisdom and his hand on the trigger of nukes. The nukes may not have been enough to make the Chinese act before, but a 25 year old running a nuclear state next door will be enough to get them to act now. They will not wait for a succession to happen. I expect they are already secretly talking with the NK army command about a coup which will eventually lead to the removal of the nukes and a reunification with the south, which the Chinese, though they will not admit it openly, admire.

A unified Korea under southern democratic control is to China's advantage. Of course there will be requirements for some change, like the removal of US troops and canceling some treaties with the US. But once unification is within sight I see no issues there. The reason this will happen is that China, thanks to the nukes and good relations with SK, is realizing SK is more important to it than NK, and the idea that NK was somehow a proxy to protect it against the US and its SK proxy is no longer valid.

fzdybel Author Profile Page:

"China should step out of Korea issue, let US deal it..."

So N. Korea is finally something to be dealt with? That's progress. As for the US, we are dealing with it. We are ignoring it. Your move.

generalyuefei Author Profile Page:

China should step out of Korea issue, let US deal it, US got their politicians like all seeing eye above the pyramid of the world, and also have 8000 troops standing by in SK ready to rockin roll, it is good for US to do it.

China should only care about economy, environment, improving governing system.

US should not shy away from this, however if money needed, China is one man boss that very easy to talk to borrow more, Mr. Hu is nice, Chinese are starvingly generous:)

LifeBeforePrinciple Author Profile Page:

The U.S. should stop yapping about N. Korea and let China and the other neighbors deal with them.

pgr88 Author Profile Page:

ALL Chinese should realize - the chance of a N. Korean nuke someday going off in Beijing are higher than the chance of the same N.Korean nuke going off in Los Angeles.

When the Kim regime is finally gone - the Koreans will look to exactly has been controlling them for the past 60 years. What if North Korea is no longer China's puppet state, but an enemy? Do Chinese want them to have nukes in that case? Too late!

hyperlexis Author Profile Page:

North Korea set off a nuclear bomb what, over a week ago now?

And what exactly has been done to punish it by anyone, the UN, China? Russia? the USA? Anyone? Anyone? Where are those fancy new sanctions? Where are those searches of NK shipping for weapons? Instead, Obama is going off overseas to vist the Arabs. No loss of momentum there, apparently. By the time he returns, the NK hot potato will likely be quietly swept aside.

Well something had damn well better be done over this, regardless of passing time. The lesson must be made crystal clear not just to the lunatics running NK, but moreso to the lunatic despots running Iran.

coolbliss Author Profile Page:

Western influences don't work well in China, huh?

Let's see...
Capitalism is a western world invention. China has capitalism on steroids. Mao and his comrades are rolling over in their graves.

Chinese people crave clothing designed by Westerners. I don't think Hugo Boss, Armani or Louis Vuitton are Chinese sounding names to me.

Professional basketball players from America get lots of recognition in China. Same goes for American Hollywood movie stars. Pop music stars from the West are a big hit as well.

English is a very popular language to learn in China. Last time I checked, English is a Western world language.

Lots of Chinese students prefer to get their college degrees at American universities. USA is the Hell's den of the corrupt Western World, you know.

The internet was invented in the United States. Hundreds of millions of Chinese use the internet regularly--minus Facebook and Twitter during certain sensitive political anniversaries. Not to mention all the other hi-tech products and software that were invented in Western corporate labs and garages.

Freedom of press, multiple political parties, open elections, freedom of protest...no, we don't want that stuff in China. We can't have people protesting tainted milk that kills small children, corrupt communist party bosses, or shabby construction of school buildings that led to the death of thousands of school children after the earthquake in 2008.

So, the Chinese government will accept Western capitalist system, fashion, art, technology but not democracy. Yes, this makes complete sense.

yuan_zcen Author Profile Page:

Is Zhao Ziyang’s memoir the last straw of democratic activists?

Democratic activists are sensationalizing Zhao Ziyang’s memoir recently, naively hoping to reverse the verdict on 1989 Tian’anmen Square movement. But even if the memoir is published, so what does it matter?

The ultimate reason for the downfallen democratic movement is the unrealization of historic direction. Netizen Yanshanxue raised questions in his on-line post named “June 4-the forgotten sad sign”. He asked “What are Beijing cabbies thinking about?” “What are white-collar ladies in high-risings in Shanghai thinking about?” “What are post 90s students thinking about?” “What are 80 million migrant workers thinking about?” “What are 100 million stock holders thinking about?” and “What are 200 million netizens are thinking about?” or you can call back home to ask what your retired parents are thinking about. Listen and think hard about what are ultimate problems of China and democratic movement.

“Chinese youth tended to worship the West and be politically westernized in 1980s, but people of generations of post 70s, post 80s and post 90s are prone to become in the generation of ‘anti-generation’ and ‘anti- Louise Vuitton’, which was directly generated by Western countries’ poor political operations of Tibet issue, Chinese disaster relief and Olympic Games. The political trend of this ‘bird’s nest’ generation will influence the future 20 or 30 years of China.”

This is the fact of China. Through 20 years’ reform and opening-up, China’s national power is strengthened, people’s living standard is improved and their sense of national honor and confidence is strengthened and the national identity of people in Hong Kong and Macao has been enhanced. China is developing to a modern society without Western worship. The society is most likely to be rational, practical, mature and stable.

What does it matter even if Zhao’s memoir is published? He had lost his political power and had been home arrested for many years. Whether could he objectively consider the history? How much persuasion, reliability and influence does the memoir have? Democratic activities sensationalized the book to struggle to not to withdraw from the stage of history. Will the memoir really become the last straw of democratic activities?

trqchn Author Profile Page:

No, there is not a suspension of exchange. The one visit that was reportedly "canceled" was in fact only postponed due to some scheduling issues.

"...Yonhap News Agency just reported that China has temporarily suspended diplomatic exchanges with the DPRK. That's definitely a notable move in terms of PRC-DPRK relations..."

blargan Author Profile Page:

Yonhap News Agency just reported that China has temporarily suspended diplomatic exchanges with the DPRK. That's definitely a notable move in terms of PRC-DPRK relations.

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