Sunday, 19 November 2017

Právo: China would pay dear for action against Kim's North Korea

ČTK |
7 September 2017

Prague, Sept 6 (CTK) - China could definitely crack down on North Korea's trouble-making leader Kim Jong-un, economically at least, which U.S. President Donald Trump wants it to do, but Trump fails to mention the price Beijing would have to pay for such an intervention, Michal Mocek writes in Czech daily Pravo on Wednesday.

The U.S. THAAD anti-missile system installed in South Korea is no longer the only problem faced by Beijing, Mocek writes, adding that an economic conflict between China and the USA has been arising on the horizon of the crisis "zealously fuelled" by Kim's North Korea.

In view of the crisis' nuclear character, the return of U.S. nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula is starting to be spoken about, Mocek writes.

Washington's steps in both the trade and military respects have been outwardly aimed against North Korea only, but each of them always violated China's interests somehow, Mocek writes.

The U.S. steps tend to weaken China's nuclear deterrence power and cause Beijing to face the risk of a trade war and of the re-appearance of U.S. nuclear weapons not far from China's borders again after more than a quarter of a century, Mocek writes.

True, Beijing could easily economically eliminate the Kim, the spoiler, for example by blocking all imports from and stopping the fuel supplies to North Korea, or evicting the North Koreans who earn money for their regime in China, Mocek writes.

China could definitely apply tough economic restrictions to North Korea, as has been repeatedly emphasised by Trump, who is even starting to threaten with sanctions aimed against Beijing, Mocek writes.

Trump fails to mention the price Beijing would have to pay for this, since the price is of no interest to him, Mocek continues.

Any Chinese action would have side effects, he says.

According to experts, it is impossible to easily take even as effective a measure as the stopping of the fuel supplies from China to North Korea. The current pipelines are reportedly so outdated that they might fail to resume operation after a pause, Mocek writes.

If China started to treat North Korea toughly, it could face a number of unpleasant consequences, including the weakening or the collapse of the North Korean regime followed by chaos and an unpredictable refugee wave, Mocek writes.

Another problematic consequence would be a drastic weakening of the North Korean military implying the threat of South Korea, backed by the U.S., succumbing to temptation and trying to reunite the Korean Peninsula by force, Mocek writes.

From Beijing's point of view, this would mean the disappearance of a buffer state that separates China from the USA and its allies South Korea and Japan. If so, the U.S. military force would probably soon appear at the Chinese border, as it happened to Russia in consequence of the Ukrainian crisis, Mocek writes.

Beijing definitely does not want any such developments, nor does it wish a direct clash with the U.S., not even an economic one. That is why it is trying to manoeuvre and it hopes it will find a way out of the difficult situation, Mocek writes.

However, it is not only important whether Beijing will escape from the Korean blind alley. An interesting Cold War relic is also at stake, Mocek continues.

For almost half a century, a special relationship of competition combined with partnership has existed between the "communist" China and the capitalist USA. This relationship started under U.S. president Richard Nixon, when the two countries were trying to jointly face the Soviet Union, Mocek writes.

It would be a paradox of history if this relationship were buried by Trump, the U.S. president who likes presenting himself as a fan of Nixon, Mocek adds.

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