photo courtesy of ctvnews.ca
Although the words “stable” and North Korea are an oxymoron, China prefers stability on the Korean Peninsula to a paranoid, belligerent North Korea led by Kim Jong Un that seems on the verge of resumption of hostilities. After all, the war between the north and the south never ended. There was only a cessation of hostilities (1953 ceasefire). NK, being the nuisance that it is for China does not exist without Chinese aid and support, and from the Chinese perspective, the greatest reason to support NK economically and militarily is to maintain a buffer from having U.S. troops on its doorstep. China also knows that if North Korea starts a war, North Korea will cease to exist, but not after a very costly and high-casualty war. Also, there will be an unprecedented flood of North Korean refugees into China if hostilities break out. This is not a conflict that China will choose to be drawn into.
The U.S. has no choice but to defend its allies South Korea and Japan. China will continue to play both sides of the issue diplomatically hoping North Korea is menacing enough that the west won’t want to start a fight while at the same time working back channels to encourage the North not to provoke the U.S. and South Korea. It’s a messy dilemma. The prospects of a nuclear North Korea with the capability of hitting U.S. assets changes the dynamics. The North Koreans enjoyed eight years of unchallenged nuclear advancement but not any more. Syria proved that President Trump will act decisively when there is a threat to our national security, and the dropping of the GBU-43 (MOAB) 22,000 pound bomb in Afghanistan should be an adequate wake up call to Kim Jong Un. The only accurate prediction one can make regarding this situation is that the North will loose. Read more