China draws its own “red line” …on North Korea

posted at 4:01 pm on March 8, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Well. I’ll believe that when I see it, via Reuters:

China declared a “red line” on North Korea on Saturday, saying that China will not permit chaos or war on the Korean peninsula, and that peace can only come through denuclearization.

China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic and economic supporter, though Beijing’s patience with Pyongyang has been severely tested following three nuclear tests and numerous bouts of saber rattling, including missile launches.

“The Korean peninsula is right on China’s doorstep. We have a red line, that is, we will not allow war or instability on the Korean peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on the sidelines of China’s annual largely rubber-stamp parliament.

Wang called upon all parties to “exercise restraint”, adding that “genuine and lasting peace” on the peninsula was only possible with denuclearization.

North Korea doesn’t have many allies, but they managed to irritate even the Cubans with some of their irrational temper tantrums, and China especially has not been pleased with their ludicrous nuclear antics of late. They’ve long since tired of constantly playing the NorK’s babysitter in the region, but still — for awhile now, China has been pondering getting more forcible with North Korea in theory while continuing to coddle them in practice. As Jonathan Pollack explained at the NYT in January shortly after Kim Jong-Un had his Communist Party elder-statesman uncle executed seemingly out of the blue:

The Kim dynasty intends to keep China in the dark as fully as it can. Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, voice periodic frustration with North Korea, but none seems able or willing to translate Pyongyang’s ever increasing economic dependence on China into meaningful influence. …

Some argue that the legacy of the Korean War weighs heavily on the minds of more traditional constituencies within the Chinese Communist Party and army. But deeper, current anxieties also inhibit Beijing. China fears that extreme actions by an unpredictable, heavily armed neighbor with a xenophobic leadership could trigger a larger crisis on the peninsula that would quickly involve China. Lacking realistic options to control North Korean behavior, China prefers instead to avoid doing anything that might alienate Pyongyang.

While China insists that it wants normal state-to-state relations with North Korea, it is not prepared to impose conditions on its isolated, troublesome neighbor, much less undertake a larger reassessment of its policies. As a consequence, Mr. Kim sees little reason to follow China’s advice, and he will continue to zealously guard against Chinese influence on the North.


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Time for an unexpected arrival of PLA troops in Pyongyang.

Does China know who these two are? Maybe NK agents?

Two passengers who boarded the missing Malaysia Airlines flight early on Saturday morning were not who they represented to be.
Foreign ministry officials in Italy and Austria have confirmed the nationals named as having being on board are in fact alive and well, and accounted for in their own countries.
A common denominator between the two is that both have recently had their passports stolen.
While nothing had been ruled out when the aircraft first disappeared over the South China Sea two hours after take-off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41am on Saturday, a major focal point for investigators is now the identity of the two passengers and whether the plane has been targeted as a terrorist attack.
- See more at: http://www.malaysiasun.com/index.php/sid/220383845/scat/48cba686fe041718/ht/Passengers-with-stolen-passports-on-board-Malaysia-Airlines-flight#sthash.DsLHNQpU.dpuf

kcewa on March 8, 2014 at 4:07 PM

People’s Daily USA ‏@peopledaily_usa 41s
Two warships of Chinese navy are on their way to sea area where missing Malaysia Airline flight MH 370 may have crashed

kcewa on March 8, 2014 at 4:11 PM

…no problem!…JugEars doesn’t know what a red line really is!

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2014 at 4:18 PM

I wonder if the Chinese have decided it’s time to give up the farce and just claim North Korea outright.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2014 at 4:22 PM

I wonder if the Chinese have decided it’s time to give up the farce and just claim North Korea outright.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2014 at 4:22 PM

That might finally unify North and South.

slickwillie2001 on March 8, 2014 at 4:30 PM

I’m sure their red line actually means something, unless it’s a distraction. The Cloward and Piven Foreign Policy addition, if you will. Constant problems finally chase the president down to the Florida Keys.
What?

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 4:40 PM

I wonder if the Chinese have decided it’s time to give up the farce and just claim North Korea outright. -Count to 10 on March 8, 2014 at 4:22 PM

That might finally unify North and South. – slickwillie2001 on March 8, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Koreans are Koreans and not Chinese. They will not be assimilated into China. The Vietnamese who were supported by China during the Vietnam War had a territorial dispute with China in 1979 that resulted in a brief war. Even today Vietnam, along with other nations in the region, is opposing China expansion claims.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/99908/ph-has-backing-of-vietnam-malaysia-vs-chinas-sea-claims-says-binay

SC.Charlie on March 8, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Have the Chinese come to the conclusion that the NK’s being a thorn in the side of the West is no longer useful to them?

So what do the Chinese have on Kim, that they can draw lines and thus FORCE the NK’s to abide by their wishes?

GarandFan on March 8, 2014 at 4:55 PM

I’m sure the NORKs will treat that red line exactly the same as Syria treated ours.

/s

John Deaux on March 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM

China supports this whacko regime for to do its proxy saber rattling. NK’s nuke program was aided and abetted by Carter/Clinton. China gains power influence, if not hegemony, over Japan, SK, et al by ocasionally calling its nuclear poodle to heel.

Russia is using this same model with Iran, aided and abetted by Obama. The difference will soon be that Putin won’t be able to control its Frankenstein. Iran will be the bear’s nemesis in due course as Iran extends its terror throughout Europe, Chechnya, and the Stan countries, protected by a nuclear umbrella.

cthemfly on March 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM

China declared a “red line” on North Korea on Saturday, saying that China will not permit chaos or war on the Korean peninsula, and that peace can only come through denuclearization.

Maybe N Korea finally created something more than a party favor and China doesn’t want the pet dog to bite it’s owner?

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Well. I’ll believe that when I see it

I believe it, EJ. Having a kook punk running wild on their southern border can’t be all that helpful. If nothing else, if one of his primitive nukes go off China would have to deal with the literal fallout.

whatcat on March 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Enough of this foreign policy stuff, which is boring. What was Michelle wearing for the long weekend vacation in the Florida Keys? Was Barak Obama able to play a round of golf? And if they left the resort, where did they eat so that I can plan my next vacation around eating at that very restaurant?

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Obligatory.

Bmore on March 8, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Sounds to me like a signal to the US that using NK as an arena for practicing covert assassination operations will be ignored. As long as nobody gets caught.

Seoul station chief, pick up the red phone please.

platypus on March 8, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Obligatory.

Bmore on March 8, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Looks like Kim-boy-un needs a Kleenex.

platypus on March 8, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Uh-oh. Un is looking a lot like Purina Dog Chow.

I agree, once the Chinese get rid of boy-blubber they’re going to help South Korea unify the peninsula.

old school on March 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Koreans are Koreans and not Chinese. They will not be assimilated into China.

You’re right, but they may be more than happy to have a more open government with very, very close ties to China, set up on the Chinese model. If that arrangement also included 3 hots and a cot with movies on Saturdays nights for the average Nork, it may be a very happy arrangement for a few years and the fat grandson may not be around much longer than an April snow.

Wallythedog on March 8, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Enough of this foreign policy stuff, which is boring. What was Michelle wearing for the long weekend vacation in the Florida Keys? Was Barak Obama able to play a round of golf? And if they left the resort, where did they eat so that I can plan my next vacation around eating at that very restaurant?

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I’ll give you a visual. Nude beach.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

China declared a “red line” on North Korea on Saturday, saying that China will not permit chaos or war on the Korean peninsula, and that peace can only come through denuclearization.

Did China only now realize that they are downwind of the Norks and much of any nuclear fallout will fall heavily on them?

RJL on March 8, 2014 at 5:47 PM

What was Michelle wearing for the long weekend vacation in the Florida Keys? Was Barak Obama able to play a round of golf? And if they left the resort, where did they eat so that I can plan my next vacation around eating at that very restaurant?

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I’ll give you a visual. Nude beach.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Ouch. That was painful.

kcewa on March 8, 2014 at 5:56 PM

What was Michelle wearing for the long weekend vacation in the Florida Keys? Was Barak Obama able to play a round of golf? And if they left the resort, where did they eat so that I can plan my next vacation around eating at that very restaurant?

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I’ll give you a visual. Nude beach.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Ouch. That was painful.

kcewa on March 8, 2014 at 5:56 PM

It hurt, yes, but he’s worked so hard. He deserves to see his First Lady nude.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:59 PM

I’ll give you a visual. Nude beach.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Since there are no reports of beached whales on the Florida Keys, I’m guessing that isn’t the reality.

Besides, these are the Obamas. They don’t go to any beach without having the police completely clear out the common folk.

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 6:12 PM

NK better hope that all those frustrated and option less single men just across that “redline” don’t decide to shuffle down and check out the singles scene.

And does anyone else think the reference to a red line is a not so subtle way to mock Obama??

Me too.

KMC1 on March 8, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Take over North Korea and make it the new Palestinian homeland. Two problems solved.

The Rogue Tomato on March 8, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Wonder if bams offered the Chinese leaders his spare bottle of super duper invisible red ink….hmm.
I’d doubt they’d take the bottle ‘cuz the Chinese do what they say, say what they mean. Whereas, we ask bams and admin why don’t they do what they say, say what they mean.

31giddyup on March 8, 2014 at 6:30 PM

I’ll give you a visual. Nude beach.

Cheese Wheel on March 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Dude – dinner tasted better the first time…

affenhauer on March 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM

NK has gotten to the point that it has served its purpose in China’s version of the Cold War. With a young, energetic clone of all the familial chips offin’ the ol’ blockhead, China sees the next 20 years on the Peninsula – and it don’t lak it. When the Chincs view today’s NK, they see their own ‘transition’ of 40+ years ago – it ain’t a purty pitcher. The picture of Mao-ian Grey. Chinese ‘Revolution’ has given way to global ‘stability’ (with their, hopeful, Chinese ‘twist’). The munchkin in NK must go. But, whut to do with the grass eatin’, illiterate, fully cowed and indoctrinated proletarian serfs and the Munchkin’s howling, well armed minions (Sounds like the Dem dilemma, here)? Therein lies the rub. You create a monster – it belongs to you…

vnvet on March 8, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Count to 10

I wonder if the Chinese have decided it’s time to give up the farce and just claim North Korea outright.

I see little reason to look for a subtext here. What the Chinese are after is, in fact, a stable Peninsula. They can’t allow Kim Jong-Un to play chicken with his nukes indefinitely, but the last thing they want is the massive influx of North Koreans which would take place, if a sufficiently repressive regime began to lose its grip on power. It also serves their purposes for NK, and the working dynamics of the Sino-NK relationship, to remain opaque to outside analysts. It gives them a wild card to play, and helps insulate them from effective international pressure on both humanitarian and political grounds.

Much to his unlauded credit, GWB recognized that China was the indispensable player, when dealing with NK. He was one of the first presidents who started out refusing to conduct bi-lateral negotiations. He had actually made some progress on roping the Chinese into a multilateral, regional approach, before he almost inexplicably threw in the towel, during his last 2 years in office. It seemed to me like he just got tired of fighting uphill battles on every front — while slogging through a swamp of domestic vituperation and obstruction every step of the way, of course.

JM Hanes on March 8, 2014 at 8:38 PM

The timing of this announcement makes it look as though China already knows that the Norks had a hand in the Malaysian Air disaster. Interestingly, since that flight was bound for Peking, some Chinese assets may have been the target.

Tom Servo on March 8, 2014 at 9:21 PM

My thinking is that China has two motives.

(1) Get rid of that crazy little bastard to their south that may be insane enough to believe he’s invincible and may turn on the hand that feeds him.

(2) Further China’s anti-access/area denial strategy to force the US out of the western Pacific. China may negotiate an end to hostilities between North and South by getting the South to agree to a withdrawal of American forces. This would leave the US with fewer land bases in the region in the event of the breakout of war. The US would have to depend on carriers even more, which China is actively building defenses against.

ReaganWasRight on March 8, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Crazed jihadist muslims have absolutely nothing on the vicious armies of Asia, especially southeast Asia.

In fact, I look forward to the day the islamic idiot jihadists get into a full on scrap with the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, or any other in the region. I think they’d rather martyr themselves than get caught by the masters of torture, but, let’s let them find that out…please!

Diluculo on March 9, 2014 at 3:02 AM

Much to his unlauded credit, GWB recognized that China was the indispensable player, when dealing with NK. He was one of the first presidents who started out refusing to conduct bi-lateral negotiations. He had actually made some progress on roping the Chinese into a multilateral, regional approach, before he almost inexplicably threw in the towel, during his last 2 years in office. It seemed to me like he just got tired of fighting uphill battles on every front — while slogging through a swamp of domestic vituperation and obstruction every step of the way, of course.

JM Hanes on March 8, 2014 at 8:38 PM

IIRC, the press and their political organ, the Democrat Party, kept up a non-stop barrage of complaints that GWB was a grand-standing go-it-alone cowboy who was refusing to include other nations in foreign policy — almost the complete opposite of his actual multinational coalition in the ME and multilateral negotiations in re NK.
They also totally ignored the work he did in Africa to reduce the AIDS catastrophes.
Sometimes there’s just no longer any point to trying to get something done.
(He may also have accomplished something positive after taking the spotlight off Asia; I don’t remember; the press would not have mentioned it if he did.)

AesopFan on March 9, 2014 at 11:55 PM