North Korea Is China’s Double-Edged Sword

    Joseph A. Bosco

    Security, Asia

    Troops prepare for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping (unseen) at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison in one of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong

    Keeping the Kim family dynasty in power, economically afloat, and technologically capable has significantly advanced China’s strategic objectives toward the West.

    The citizens and government of Hawaii should send a big mock congratulatory lei to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The sheer terror they experienced for the better part of an hour last Saturday morning ultimately came courtesy of China’s longstanding policy of enabling and protecting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

    Yes, the immediate cause of the panic was the local government’s erroneous flash warning that the Pacific paradise island was about to be hit by a nuclear missile. Given North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests and blatant threats against America, the alert seemed credible.

    Why, then, sarcastically congratulate China for the stark fear the event engendered in 1.5 million Hawaiians and tourists and other Americans who remembered Pearl Harbor?

    Because Xi and his colleagues and predecessors have colluded with three Kim regimes over four decades to develop a nuclear and missile capability intended precisely to threaten America’s allies, bases in Asia and the United States itself.

    The scenes of terror witnessed on the streets of Honolulu—parents lowering children into sewer manholes for protection—reinforced what the two Communist regimes have already achieved at the highest levels of the U.S. Government: incessant preoccupation with North Korea’s nuclear threat, and, until now, impotence and lack of will to stop it.

    What North Korea has sought to gain with nuclear weapons has long been clear: domestic legitimacy and international prestige; awesome military power available for both offensive and defensive purposes; formidable leverage in negotiations over security, economic, and diplomatic matters; and, most importantly, separation of South Korea from its American ally.

    It has been insufficiently noticed that Beijing shares those same goals for North Korea and that they synergistically serve China’s own strategic aims.

    For far too long, China has succeeded in portraying itself as merely a passive neighbor and reluctant supplier of food, fuel, and diplomatic cover for its rambunctious junior partner, and even as another victim of Pyongyang’s erratic behavior. All Beijing wants, it argues, is stability on a “denuclearized” Korean Peninsula, and a defensive “buffer” against potential aggression from South Korea, Japan and the United States.

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