China’s Role in the Norks quest for Nukes

Yesterday, in a discussion concerning China’s role in the North Korean Nuclear test at one of my new favorite blogs Hang Right Politics. Some were contending that China was behind Kim Jong Il’s quest for nukes. There is some basis for this argument. North Korea’s Missile program for example uses Chinese & Russian technology. The North’s missile sales are a substantial part of their economy and of major benefit to both China and Russia, so advancing those sales is in the economic interest of both China and Russia.  

China’s economy is heavily dependent on its exports of cheap goods to western nations.  If they were to be publicly seen as aiding the addition of an unstable and irrational leader into the Nuclear Club it would put at risk all those exports as well as their economy. Additionally with the Beijing Olympics coming up in 2008 the last thing they want is any bad press over Lil Kim and his nuclear toys upstageing Beijing’s showcase to the world.

The Chinese do want North Korea to continue to be a pain in our backside, but they don’t want it to escalate to a point in which we have no choice but to pursue a regime change in North Korea. If the US, South Korea, or Japan were to somehow remove Kim Jong Il from power the result would likely be a unified Korean Peninsula, and a successfull capitalist country on the Chinese border.. That would provide far greater access to the Chinese people of material and information that the Communists in Beijing would view as a threat. I would bet that if there is a Regime change in North Korea it will be accomplished by the Chinese who will promptly install a more controllable puppet regime in place…

The following reuters report discusses some of the Chinese reluctance to do more to destabalize the North Korean Regime. The reasons cited are the immediate concerns, not the long term implications. China is well known for it’s patience in accomplishing its strategic goals.  To speculate on China’s role in any global affair looking at the long term is often more important than the short term consequences.

BEIJING (Reuters) – A huge flow of refugees, a stronger U.S. presence in the region and economic pressures that could impact the stability of its government — those are the worst fears for China in the event its neighbor, North Korea, collapsed.

The conclusion China has come to as it weighs its response to North Korea’s announcement last week that it conducted a nuclear test is that while nuclear is bad, collapse is worse.

I certainly am no expert on China (or much else for that matter).  So your comments and opinions on this are welcome. 

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  1. 1 U.S. presses China for tough action against North Korea « Morning Coffee

    […] Morning Coffee News, Politics, Opinion « China’s Role in the Norks quest for Nukes […]




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