China Needs to Take a Long-Term View on N.Korea

      October 04, 2010 13:45

      Chinese President Hu Jintao has met a North Korean delegation who were visiting Beijing to explain the results of an extraordinary Workers Party congress last Tuesday. Hu told the delegation, "Under the guidance of General Secretary Kim Jong-il of the Workers Party and its new central leadership, I believe that the party, the government and people will achieve new results in their project to build a strong and prosperous nation." Hu said Beijing and Pyongyang enjoy "a profound traditional friendship" and promised to "boost relations from a strategic and long-term perspective."

      hoe Thae-bok, the secretary of the party's Central Committee, said, "We wanted to inform you of the results of the party congress as soon as possible because we place great importance on bilateral relations.”

      China is the only country in the world North Korea reports its congress results to, since it is also the only country willing to help the backward nation as it groans under UN sanctions following its nuclear tests and sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan. If China were to shuts off supplies of oil, food and other necessities, the regime would soon collapse. Against that background, the meeting between Hu and the North Korean delegation is tantamount to the relationship between a dominant country and a vassal state where a new puppet ruler has been installed.

      China is assisting North Korea in its hereditary transfer of power is because it does not want to lose the North as a buffer and end up sharing a border with South Korea, which has a strong alliance with the U.S. and Japan. Its own strategic interests, not the much-vaunted "blood ties" formed in the Korean War, are the reason why China continues to turn a blind eye to North Korea's transgressions and give its blessing to a dynastic transfer of power that is being ridiculed around the world.

      When North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited China in August, Hu advised him that economic development cannot be achieved without international cooperation. But Kim did not even attempt to pay lip-service to reform and merely handed over the baton of power to his third son. China must surely be feeling a sense of foreboding. The government must take into account this difference in ties between Beijing and Pyongyang in establishing its framework of diplomacy, while convincing China that its immediate and future interests cannot lie in supporting the moribund North Korean regime.

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