CBS: Even the Chinese are getting tired of North Korea
posted at 12:05 pm on April 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Both Allahpundit and I have written about the antics in Pyongyang today, but this works as a bit of a backgrounder to see how the political ground may be subtly shifting under Kim Jong-un’s feet. China has been North Korea’s only friend for decades, and China has good strategic reasons to have the DPRK as a client state and irritant to the US and Japan. However, the events of the last few years, combined with increased trade across the Pacific, has some in China wondering why they still bother:
“North Korea is a crazy country and it has a crazy leadership,” Beijing resident Wu told CBS News, giving only his first name. “They talk nonsense while holding their peoples’ lives hostage. The government uses money to build nuclear weapons while their people starve.”
“North Korean leaders don’t care about people’s lives,” he continued. “They are really playing with the lives of their people. China should use food as a weapon. It should stop providing food and put pressure on North Korea.” …
Some Chinese academics have also begun questioning their country’s continued support for the North.
“The United States is one of the largest trading partners to China,” Cheng Xiaohe, an Associate Professor of International Relations at China’s Renmin University tells CBS News. “The ROK (Republic of Korea — South Korea) is also a trading partner to China. So the two countries, China and the DPRK (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea – North Korea), don’t share common enemies. The treaties the two countries signed 40 years ago, 50 years ago, have become increasingly irrelevant.”
Cheng says that while China’s state-run media remain overtly sympathetic toward North Korea, “other mass-media have become increasingly frustrated with the DPRK, particularly the DPRK’s provocation within the past year. We understand how the train in Chinese mass media moves, but from my personal observations, the train now is moving towards the direction not favorable to the DPRK.”
Officially, the government remains pro-Pyongyang, as a Communist Party journal editor discovered when he offered similar opinions in print recently; he’s on indefinite suspension at the moment. Still, the fact that the Chinese are openly critical of both North Korea and Beijing’s alliance with the Kim regime shows that Kim may be at risk of cutting off his only link to any sort of aid and support at all.
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