Political Opinion: China’s Dilemma: How To Stabilize North Korea. The Ball Is In China’s Court.
China is at a cross roads in its development as a member of the free world economy. In recent years it has moved towards free market capitalism and enjoyed a robust trade with the United States and other free nations. This is a long way from the nineteen fifties when it was Stalinist type communist state. Then North Korea was it’s protégé state and a member of the communist bloc led by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. When North Korea attacked South Korea on June 26, 1950 in its quest to unify the Korean peninsula under communist rule it was supported by Chinese troops with Soviet logistical support and combat advisors.
Since the Korean War North Korea has remained a Stalinist style dictatorship while China and Russia have emerged from communism, one as a free market economy moving towards democracy and the other a democracy moving towards capitalism.
The rationale for world communism no longer exists and the rationale for North Korea to exist in its present form as a dictatorship for the benefit of Kim Jong Il is no longer tenable. Just as China and the Soviet Union failed as communist states so has North Korea.
North Korea was basically the creation of Russia after WWII and would not exist today if it were not for Chinese and Soviet support during the Korean War. Indeed it would not exist today if it were not for the aid of China, which supplies about seventy percent of its energy and food needs.
China is the main reason why North Korea exists in its present form and China prevents the free world from bringing an end to this outrage as a nation under a dictatorship for the benefit of one man while children reportedly starve under its failed communist economic system. Its economy is one-sixth the size of California’s. Compared with South Korea it is a laughing stock as a state. South Korea on the other hand is a world-class economy comparable to the smaller European economies. It is a democracy and its people enjoy a high standard of living for Asia.
China has come to the crossroads where its interests lie with the West and in not in preserving a monstrosity. North Korean is now an embarrassment to China and an obstruction to its goals as a market economy.
North Korea’s nuclear endeavors have created security concerns in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. All of these countries have the technical sophistication to become nuclear in a very short period of time. Indeed Japan already has a supply of plutonium generated by its peaceful nuclear reactors.
The Initiative Lies With China.
Japan and China have long been adversaries and China has long wanted to extend its hegemony over Taiwan. What happens if these countries develop a nuclear capability to off set North Korea’s. Will it not affect their relationship with China and also Russia and create new world tensions?
China has to make decision to either control North Korea or
risk its own development as a free market capitalist country with an improved standard of living for its people or become involved a cold war standoff and arms race with those nations touching the sea of Japan and also by implication with the rest of the free world.
The Bush administration is limited as to what it can do With North Korea because of China and to some extent Russia just, as the Truman and the Eisenhower administrations were unable to defeat North Korea in the fifties because of these allies.
The answer to a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula lies with China.
If China wants to move forward as a participant in First World trade and economic development as an equal partner it must show good faith in the curbing of Kim Jong Il. It is said that Kim is impressed by China’s advances under a market economy and would like to make changes in that direction but is afraid to as it might weaken the rationale for his grip on power. After all he is the only dynastic communist leader and it appears that he has designs for one of his sons to succeed him. This dynastic element hardly fits with Marxist-Leninism. China is in a position to influence Kim Jong Il both with a carrot and a stick to make North Korea give up nuclear weapons and enter into a free trade relationship with the rest of the world. The problem is that if Kim loosens his grip on power it might end in a regime change from within. Still China could force him to make changes no matter what the risk to himself and his dynasty. He already is on a collision course with history because he is jeopardizing the interests of China in the world.
The ball is in China’s court.