Monday, November 23, 2009

Chinese and North Korean defense ministers pledge to strengthen military ties

As the BBC reports, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie is in Pyongyang right now making nice with co-communist blood ally and buffer against American imperialism, North Korea. For those of you keeping score at home, China pulled North Korea's nuts from the fire in the first year of the Korean War, entering the conflict just as South Korean and US-led United Nations forces could see the Amnok (Yalu) and Tuman (Tumen) Rivers. [UPDATE: The story is also carried by AFP, AP via USA Today, and the Chosun Ilbo]

China does not want — ever — for there to be an American client state on its border, and they are doing what they can to prop up Pyongyang, and visits like this may be intended to keep Pyongyang in line. Particularly since a Washington envoy (Stephen Bosworth) is coming a couple weeks after that.

The last thing Beijing wants is for Pyongyang to make some unexpected deal that loosens their grip on the DPRK. Things like, say, declaring all of Shinŭiju a hermetically sealed free-trade zone with a Chinese-born Dutch governor. Things like that.

Anyway, enough of my opinions; this is what the BBC had to say:
China has been a firm ally of the North since they fought together in the Korean War against the South.

Analysts have noted, however, that China appears increasingly willing to push the boundaries of its special relationship with the North to support the nuclear talks.

China fears a huge influx of refugees if the North Korean state collapse, and has little desire to see a nuclear-armed state with an uncertain political succession on its border.

Mr Liang told a reception by Pyongyang's defence chief Kim Yong-chun that the bilateral relationship was "sealed in blood" when he and other Chinese troops fought the Korean War on the North Koreans' side.

"No force on earth can break the unity of the armies and peoples of the two countries and it will last forever," Mr Liang said, according to KCNA, the North Korean news agency.

"It is the fixed stand of the Korean army and people to invariably consolidate and develop the DPRK (North Korea)-China friendship, which has stood all trials of history," Kim Yong-Chun said.

The defence chiefs then had "comradely and friendly" talks, according to the report.
No force on earth? Not even hunger or a sense that you're going to die anyway if you do nothing?

1 comment:

  1. I'm being pedantic here, but China has well over a dozen borders, including one with Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan. Of course, those borders are with Xinjiang, far from Beijing or Shanghai, so I suppose a unified Korea is a bigger threat than that. Still, American soldiers have been across the West Sea for over 50 years. I don't really understand that argument.

    China does have a vested interest in a divided Korea, for sure, because it strengthens its own stature in the region. I imagine that's what keeps North Korea afloat, along maybe with some sentiments about shared values.


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