Beijing and Pyongyang: old friends

A fascinating and insightful article in The Global Times, called ‘Nothing should come between China and North Korea‘.

Let me quote a few of the more interesting parts:

North Korea is a respectable country. It is highly independent, which is extremely rare in Northeast Asia. Its economic size is not large, but its industrial system is relatively complete, which is not easily achieved. The development of the North Korean economy and society is also not as gloomy as described by the outside world.

Pyongyang has the right to choose its own political system without interventions from the outside world. The Chinese public should particularly understand this. There are huge differences in political systems worldwide. It is unfair to single out North Korea and attack it.

So how does the friendship between China and the DPRK work?

Beijing and Pyongyang forged their friendship with blood during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea 1950-53. When China later withdrew its military from North Korea, it also drew back its influence on the country …

China has no ability to manage North Korea. Controlling a neighbouring country runs counter to Beijing’s long-term foreign policy. China and North Korea treat each other as equals and respect one another.

The nature of the Beijing-Pyongyang relationship is utterly different from the Washington-Seoul alliance, which is comprehensively determined by the US and its troops in South Korea.

What about nuclear arms and the Chinese policy of denuclearisation on the whole Korean peninsula?

For China and North Korea, the major tests are how to keep the right balance between their divergences over the nuclear issue, how to maintain friendly ties between Beijing and Pyongyang and how to avoid the influence of South Korean, Japanese or Western media.

The divergence between China and North Korea over the nuclear issue is their only major difference. Other so-called conflicts are speculatively created. South Korea, the US and Japan yearn for overall confrontation between the two and so they have been spreading rumours that seek to drive a wedge between Beijing and Pyongyang.

To conclude:

Maintaining friendly relations between China and North Korea is in line with the interests of both sides.

For China, it is conducive to Beijing’s peripheral strategy and can make more room for its maneuvering in Northeast Asian affairs.

For North Korea, it would be difficult and dangerous to cope with Seoul, Washington and Tokyo all alone. China’s support can defuse many risks.

It is hoped that the Communist Party of China and the Workers’ Party of Korea can remain the bedrock of relations between the two countries, making sure that no opportunist can find a market or opportunity to harm Beijing-Pyongyang ties.

I hardly need to point out the implications of this statement should anyone contemplate interfering with the DPRK.