Reuters Staff August 18, 2018
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Pyongyang next month at the invitation of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un to attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding, Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported.
It will be the Chinese leader’s first visit to the North Korean capital since he took power in 2012, and 13 years after the last visit by a Chinese President, when Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao visited in 2005, the newspaper said on Saturday.
The Straits Times did not say where it obtained the information and the Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
North Korea’s celebrations are set to take place on Sept. 9 and the Straits Times said that Xi’s visit could still be subject to last-minute changes.
China is the reclusive country’s most important trading partner and Kim has visited China three times so far this year during which he has held talks with Xi on improving cooperation between the two countries and economic reforms.
The United States has stepped up sanctions on North Korea to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. This week, the United States imposed sanctions on Chinese firms for exporting alcohol and cigarette products to North Korea in breach of those sanctions.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
Source: Reuters “Chinese President Xi to visit North Korea next month: Straits Times”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
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Lucas Niewenhuis June 19, 2018
For the third time in less than three months, Kim Jong-un has met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Here are SupChina’s reports on the first and second meetings.
This time, the visit to Beijing was announced (in Chinese) by Chinese state media while it happened — the visit was reported to last from June 19 to June 20, according to reports posted around 10am on the 19th, Beijing time. Because past practice was for Beijing to keep meetings with North Korean officials under wraps until they were completed, this led many foreign journalists such as NPR’s Anthony Kuhn to suspect that China is “feeling a bit more secure these days” with its North Korean relations.
Sanctions relief goes hand in hand with that sense of security, as NK News reports that “multiple DPRK-linked ships [have been] arriving at ports in China built to handle bulk commodities like iron and coal, goods sanctioned under UN measures.”
•Kim has transformed into a “very good diplomat,” Andrei Lankov, a Russian expert on North Korea, tells the New York Times (paywall). As he seeks further sanctions relief, “He wants to further disrupt the united China-U.S. front, which somewhat surprisingly emerged last year, but now is in critical condition due to the trade war.”
•China has “significant concerns” that part of that new diplomatic activity may be a direct dialogue with the U.S. that weakens China’s sway over its neighbor, former CIA analyst Chris Johnson told the South China Morning Post.
•“China would like Mr. Kim to be a little less cooperative with the United States — enough so that Mr. Trump might ease up on the tariffs, in the interest of keeping China in his corner where Pyongyang is concerned,” the New York Times writes.
•But overall, China is very satisfied with the course of North Korean diplomacy, as Quartz reports, because Trump very easily agreed to a major concession that China has sought for years: An indefinite freeze on American military exercises with South Korea.
Source: SubChina “Kim goes to Beijing after Singapore Summit”
Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Due to the horror and damages of US air raids during the Korean War, Kim’s development of nuclear weapons had wide support from North Korean people, who always have fear about their security as the US has always been hostile to North Korea and kept quite a few troops in South Korea.
Kim was very clear that without reform he could not feed Korean people so as to win popular support for his Kim Dynasty. I described in my previous post his lack of power to overcome conservatives’ resistance to his reform so that he could not carry out his agricultural reform to feed his people. However, he was shrewd enough to know that due to fear of US attack, North Korean people put national security before food supply so that he exploits their security concerns and concentrated resources on development of nuclear weapons and ICBMs. US stringent sanctions on North Korea help him put the blame of food shortage on US sanctions.
By so doing, he further upset China as China wants good relations with the US to avoid Thucydides Trap. China has reduced its aids to Kim to the minimum, but it had to provide North Korea with food and other necessities so that North Koreans would not flee into China in large number for their survival.
China has a long border with North Korea difficult to guard in winter when border rivers are frozen.
In fact, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are also a threat to China; therefore, Kim is now doing what China dislikes.
Anyway, the US plays into Kim’s hands in taking Kim seriously and putting pressure on Kim and even threatening Kim with military attack. It helps Kim to lie to North Korean people that they have to suffer hunger as their government has to use the country’s meager resources in developing nuclear weapons to ensure their security.
At the BRICS summit in Xiamen early September 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that further sanctions were “useless and ineffective”. Putin said that the North Koreans will “eat grass, but they won’t abandon their [nuclear] program unless they feel secure.” It showed Putin’s wisdom.
The US is obsessed with military solution. That is perhaps what a world hegemon is used to. Its failures in wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have not made it realize its inability in resolving problems by military means. There is very simple diplomatic solution to the crisis. Conclude a peace treaty with North Korea and China and withdraw all US troops from South Korea. North Korea simply dare not attack South Korea while China will not allow North Korea to start a war as it wants peace and stability around it for it to grow strong enough to resist US bully. Moreover, China has lots of economic interests in South Korea.
Maintaining the survival of Kim Dynasty is Kim Jong-un’s first priority. If he starts a war, his Kim Dynasty will immediately collapse. His nuclear weapons can only deter others’ attack but if he is the first to attack others, his nuclear weapons will be entirely destroyed and his poorly equipped army is no match to South Korean and US troops that dominate the air and sea. Moreover, China has already warned Kim that China will not help him if he starts a war.
Therefore, the US shall look down on Kim instead of regarding Kim’s nuclear weapons as a major threat. If so Kim will be in trouble as after all he has to feed his people with food instead of nuclear bombs and ICBMs.
With security ensured by nuclear warheads and ICBMs, Kim has to develop North Korean economy to feed his people. As he is shrewd, he will try to negotiate for a resolution of the nuclear crises in order to get as much benefit as possible. He is lucky that current US politicians are not shrewd.
Article by Chan Kai Yee.
The Lesson of the Collapse of the Soviet Union
The US is a remote country from Asia so that however strong China becomes, it will not hurt US interests. What the US worries about is China’s rise to become its rival superpower or replace it as the only superpower in the world. However, China’s current leader does not seem to have intention to do so. What China wants is to be benefited by its relations with other countries. Acting as US rival or replacing the US as the only superpower will cost China a lot but bring little or even no benefit.
The collapse of the Soviet Union is a very good lesson for Chinese leaders. The Soviet Union has a much smaller economy but has the ambition to be a rival hegemon to the US. Like the US it had to bear the heavy burden of protecting and supporting its subordinate countries. It has given huge aids to Vietnam to enable Vietnam to defeat the US but get no return at all form Vietnam. So were its aids to North Korea and Cuba to enable the communist regimes to survive there.
People wonder why the Soviet Union suddenly collapsed as there seemed no crisis in it to bring it down. However, it is very clear to Chinese leader that the Soviet Union was crushed by its heavy burden to contend with the US given its much inferior economic strength. Anxious to maintain Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s survival, Chinese leaders certainly would not repeat Soviet Union’s disastrous blunder.
Like the Soviet Union’s efforts to spread communism, the US wants to spread its democratic system the world over but has achieved nothing, the democracy it has established in Iraq and Afghanistan are difficult to survive without US military support. The much praised Jasmine revolution for the establishment of democracy has only replaced old autocracy with new autocracy such as the autocratic regime changes in Egypt and even chaos such as the chaos in Libya.
US failure to export its political system makes the Soviet lesson even more convincing.
China simply should not have any intention to export its ideology or political system as China simply cannot benefit from such export. What it should pursue is but win-win cooperation with other countries. Such cooperation will benefit not only China but also its cooperation partners and make China popular among them. Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative now precisely aims at that.
However the experience of Western colonialism and the two world wars tells other countries that a rising power usually bullies other countries and even tries to conquer other countries and turn them into its colonies. Can China be an exception?
China is a country with its own long history and the dominance of Confucianism characterized by benevolence, harmony and the doctrine of the mean quite different from the predatory Western colonialism. Therefore, China simply has a culture different from Western culture instead of being an exception of Western culture.
Westerners and those who have suffered from Western colonialism are scared of China’s rise because they do no understand Chinese culture so that they see China from a Western instead of Chinese perspective.
The Attempt to Set a North Korea Model
To convince other countries and remove their worries, China wanted to set a North Korea model of win-win cooperation. If it had succeeded in setting up the model, it might use the model to build an Asia community.
At the time when Kim Jong-un succeeded his father Kim Jong-il, China was at a turning point. For further economic growth to realize its dream to become too strong to be bullied by other countries, it needed a huge market, lots of natural resources and cheep labor. In order to greatly expand its domestic market, it had just established nationwide life and medical insurance safety nets and was building millions of subsidized housing units in order to make its people save less and spend more. In addition, it plans to speed up urbanization and substantially increase workers’ income.
When labor became expensive, however, lots of China’s labor-intensive enterprises would be in trouble. They had to move to poor countries where there was a shortage of investment and lots of cheap labor. North Korea was precisely one of such countries.
China had been trying to export its Chinese model to North Korea for quite a long time. During his visit to North Korea in 2005, Chinese leader Hu Jintao spoke about the problems China had at a banquet Kim Jong-un’s Kim Jong-il gave in his honor. That was a clear sign that China was unwilling to give substantial aids free of charge. Obviously, Chinese aids have to be mutually beneficial. By reducing Chinese aids, Hu tried to make North Korea follow Chinese model to make North Korea prosperous.
If North Korea followed China’s example, it would establish Sino-North Korean joint ventures for China to utilize the natural resources and cheap labor there. There were prospects that North Korea would export lots of inexpensive goods to China. That would make North Korea rich and greatly improve its people’s living standards. North Korea would in turn become a growing market for Chinese exports. North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, if followed the Chinese model, would become popular. That seemed the only way out for Kim Jong-un to maintain the survival of his dynasty.
The transformation of North Korea from poverty to prosperity would set a North Korean model that would be eagerly followed by China’s other neighbors. Then the vast and populous underdeveloped Asia will become sources of natural resources and cheap labor for China and a growing market for China while China will offer its huge market for those neighboring countries.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
As far back as in January 2012, China gave me the impression that it tried to build a pan-Asia community, which I called “China’s Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere in my post “CHINA’S GREATER ASIA CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE” on January 29, 2012. I used the term similar to Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere to make it easy to understand but failed to make clear distinction of China’s from Japan’s.
Japan’s was a term to beautify its aggression that had brought no co-prosperity but misery in the so called co-prosperity sphere but China’s is a true co-prosperity sphere that will enable China and the countries within the sphere to prosper through win-win cooperation. Anyway, to avoid confusion, I had better not use such a term; therefore, I no longer use the term later.
China was at a turning point by that time. For further economic growth to realize its dream to become too strong to be bullied by other countries, it needed a huge market, lots of natural resources and cheep labor. In order to greatly expand its domestic market, it has just established nationwide life and medical insurance safety nets and was building millions of subsidized housing in order to make its people save less and spend more. In addition, it plans to speed up urbanization and substantially increase workers’ income.
However, when labor became expensive, lots of China’s labor-intensive factories would be in trouble. They had to move to poor countries where there was a shortage of investment and lots of cheap labor. North Korea was precisely one of such countries.
China has been trying to export its Chinese model to North Korea for quite a long time. During his visit of North Korea in 2005, Chinese leader Hu Jintao spoke about the problems China had at a banquet Kim Jong-il gave in his honor. That was a clear sign that China was unwilling to give substantial aids free of charge. Obviously, Chinese aids have to be mutually beneficial. By reducing Chinese aids, Hu tried to make North Korea follow Chinese model to make North Korea prosperous.
If North Korea follows China’s example, it would establish Sino-North Korean joint ventures for China to utilize the natural resources and cheap labor there. There were prospects that North Korea would export lots of goods to China. That would make North Korea rich and greatly improve its people’s living standards. North Korea would in turn become a growing market for Chinese exports. North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, if followed the Chinese model, would become popular. That seemed the only way out for Kim Jong-un to maintain the survival of his dynasty.
The transformation of North Korea from poverty to prosperity would set a North Korean model that would be eagerly followed by China’s other neighbors. Then the vast and populous Asia will become sources of natural resources and cheap labor for China and a growing market for China while China will offer its huge market for those neighboring countries.
When I wrote the post in 2012, Kim Jong-il, the second generation monarch of North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, had visited China and decided to follow the Chinese model, but he soon died so that he had not really started the reform and opening up similar to China’s.
When his successor Kim Jong-un had just taken over, there was North Korean official news agency’s report that urges party organizations to prove their loyalty to Kim Jong-un by resolving the “burning” food problem. In addition, knowing well Kim Dynasty’s predicament, the regime’s three official newspapers’ joint New Year editorial even urges “the whole party, the entire army and all the people” to “become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un.” Obviously, the Kim regime knew well that it would collapse if it failed to put an end to the famine and improve people’s livelihood.
Not long after Kim Jong-un took over, his brother Kim Jong-nam, the prince who has failed to succeed to the throne, predicted his brother Kim Jong-un’s failure to maintain Kim Dynasty’s survival. Knowing well the dire situation in North Korea, Kim Jong-nam believed that King Jong-un lacked the experience to fulfill the Herculean task of resolving the food problem and improving people’s living standards.
China’s experience, however, proves that it is very easy to resolve the food problem. Put an end to collective farming and divide farmland to farmers, there will soon be lots of food and other agricultural products to satisfy people’s needs.
However, it is very difficult for a communist country to switch to the capitalist road. In spite of Deng Xiaoping’s dominant power as China’s paramount leader, his reform and opening up, capitalist in nature, encountered serious resistance from communist conservatives. There were fierce debates between conservatives and reformists about the nature of the reform and opening up. i.e. whether the reform and opening up are socialist or capitalist in nature.
Deng certainly knew that his reform and opening up was capitalist in nature so that it was impossible for the reformists to convince the conservatives that they were socialist in nature; therefore, Deng resorted to the trick of delay. He told conservatives to wait for the results of his reform and opening up and believed that the satisfactory results would convince the conservatives.
However, the conservatives would not wait. They continued to attack the reform and succeeded in bringing down Hu Yaobang, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in charge of the reform at that time.
Hu’s successor Zhao Ziyang upset the conservatives by closing conservatives’ mouthpieces such as the prestigious Hongqi magazine in order to silence their attack against the reform and opening up. Powerful conservative elders were very much upset and tried hard to force Deng to remove Zhao as CCP General Secretary. As a result, Deng even wanted to make Zhao replace him as Chairman of the Central Military Commission to enable Zhao to have the supreme power to deal with the conservatives.
However, Zhao, as an experienced communist official, knew well in an oriental communist autocracy like China, the power did not lie in an official’s title. As CCP top official the general secretary, Zhao had no power while major CCP elders, though retired, remained very powerful. Soon the Tiananmen Incident provided the conservatives with the opportunity to remove Zhao and almost stopped the reform and opening up.
It was not until three years after the Incident that Deng used his dominant power as the paramount leader to restore the reform by his well-known Southern Tour. Later, Deng’s successors Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji convinced the conservatives with their achievements of Deng’s reform and developed the Three Represents to justify the pursuit of capitalism with Marxist theory. They have thus put an end to the debates but conservatism remains quite popular as proved by Bo Xilai’s Sing Red Campaign.
Kim Jong-un promised to enable his people to have enough food when he took over. As mentioned above, he was certainly able to achieve that if like China he put an end to his country’s collective farming and divided farmland to farmers. However, he could not carry through the reform due to conservatives’ serious resistance. Collective farming is regarded as a major factor of socialism while individual farming is regarded as capitalism. Kim as the leader of a socialist country should not pursue capitalism, conservatives argued.
In the industrial sector, China has set up quite a few joint ventures with North Korea, but Chinese joint venture partners were unable to manage their joint ventures the Chinese way due to the obstacles set by conservative North Korean officials.
If Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il had been alive, he would perhaps have been able to make North Korea follow Chinese model of reform and opening up as he had established sound powerbase to enable him to do so. Kim Jong-un, however, did not have enough time to establish a powerbase strong enough to overcome conservatives’ resistance.
Seeing that conservatives are much stronger than reformists in North Korea, Kim Jong-un switched to conservatives’ side to have their support for his Kim Dynasty. He killed and removed quite a few high-ranking pro-Beijing officials to please the conservatives but has thus upset China.
Kim was very clear that without reform he could not feed Korean people in order to win popular support for his Kim Dynasty. He was shrewd to focus on development of nuclear weapons and ICBMs to upset the US and make the US impose stringent sanctions on North Korea so that he could put the blame of food shortage, etc. on US sanctions.
He further upset China in doing so as China wants good relations with the US (I will explain the reasons in my later posts). China has reduced its aids to Kim to the minimum, but it had to provide North Korea with food and other necessities so that North Koreans would not flee into China in large number for their survival.
China has a long border with North Korea difficult to guard in winter when border rivers are frozen.
In fact, North Korea’s nuclear weapons are also a threat to China; therefore, Kim is now doing what China opposes.
Having entirely lost hope in North Korea, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched his Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road) initiative for the establishment of a pan-Asian community without North Korea.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
April 13, 2017
China would be willing to offer the North Korean regime protection if it abandoned its nuclear weapons, a well-known Chinese paper reports.
North Korea’s primary reason for developing nuclear weapons is the preservation of the state and the regime through deterrence, yet the U.S. and its allies refuse to accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. Evidence suggests that North Korea may be preparing for another nuclear test this weekend.
(This first appeared in The Daily Caller here.)
“This path has no outlet … it doesn’t matter if North Korea tests a few more nuclear bombs or a few more missiles. It will not make any difference,” the Global Times, an outlet affiliated with the state-run People’s Daily, the paper of the ruling Communist Party, wrote Thursday. “Washington does not fear North Korea, and another nuclear test increases the likelihood that the U.S. will use military force.”
North Korea’s current course is not sustainable and is putting the survival of the regime in jeopardy. “If North Korea does not end its nuclear activities, this end is inevitable,” the newspaper explained, adding that even if the U.S. does not attack it, sanctions will eventually cripple the North Korean state.
“Pyongyang may assume that atomic bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles are the keys to ensuring national and political security, but this is wrong,” the Global Times argued, further commenting that the international community, China included, will not stand idly by while North Korea tests increasingly-powerful nuclear weapons.
“Beijing will not patiently allow Pyongyang to continue its nuclear activities. This is where the U.S. and China are in agreement,” the paper noted, “The difference is that Beijing insists on a peaceful solution that does not threaten the regime, while Washington may use force and take extreme measures.” In a separate article, the outlet reported that President Donald Trump, who recently bombed Syria for crossing the line with chemical weapons, is a man “who honors his promises” and may take military action against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Reports suggest that China’s People’s Liberation Army has been put on alert for a possible contingency on the peninsula as tensions rise.
“If North Korea complies with China’s advice and suspends nuclear activities, China will actively work to protect the security of a de-nuclearised North Korean nation and regime,” the Global Times wrote, adding that China is willing to build a positive future for both sides of the Yalu River.
In addition to warning North Korea against continued provocations, China also warned the U.S. against using military action. “Military force cannot resolve the issue,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing Thursday.
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Source: National Interest “China Offers to Defend Kim Jong-un If He Gives Up His Nuclear Weapons”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.