How Will China Handle North Korea?

China wants to expand its influence in global affairs (particularly in Asia) but doesn’t seem to have any control over it’s one and only vassal state: N.Korea. They allow Kim Il Jung and his cronies to run loose (when they could easily cut off the fuel and food supplies that keep his unpredictable regime alive). But the price they pay this time could be too steep for even the Chinese to handle. Would they risk economic disruption and trade w/the US over a war in the Korean Peninsula? Would they continue to support Kim if he provokes or attacks the South? And could they stand by and see the S Koreans (w/American help) wipe him off the planet and overrun their buffer state? And should they then open their doors to the flood of N. Korean refugees that would swarm across their border into the adjoining Korean speaking, Chinese province? We may find out as soon as this weekend if the “Chinese economic miracle” really outweighs traditional Communist party “real politics”. Let’s hope they see it our way.

Washington (CNN) — China is expected to make a statement in coming days on the sinking of a South Korean ship by North Korea, according to two senior U.S. government officials.

The officials briefed reporters Wednesday while returning from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Asia.

An official South Korean report has accused the communist North of firing a torpedo at the warship Cheonan, killing 46 sailors.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has announced that South Korea is suspending trade with North Korea, closing its waters to the North’s ships and adopting a newly aggressive military posture toward its neighbor.

The two senior U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of not being identified by name due to the sensitivity of the diplomatic issues involved, said a Chinese statement on the incident was expected later this week or over the weekend, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits South Korea. China has long been North Korea’s main international supporter.

“I think it would be fair to suggest that China is in the process of looking hard at what its interests are in the Korean Peninsula and its positioning vis-a-vis North Korea,” one of the senior U.S. officials said.


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