World War 3: China Needs to Save Face
China is in a delicate and unenviable position when it comes to North Korea.
China Carries Significant Political Debt to North Korea
With the end of the war with Japan, the Chinese Civil War resumed between the Chinese Communists and the Chinese Nationalists.
While the Communists were struggling for supremacy in Manchuria, they were supported by the North Korean government with materiel and manpower.
According to Chinese sources, the North Koreans donated 2,000 railway cars worth of materiel while thousands of Koreans served in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the war. North Korea also provided the Chinese Communists in Manchuria with a safe refuge for non-combatants and communications with the rest of China.
The North Korean contributions to the Chinese Communist victory were not forgotten after the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As a token of gratitude, between 50,000 and 70,000 Korean veterans that served in the PLA were sent back along with their weapons, and they later played a significant role in the initial invasion of South Korea.
China promised to support the North Koreans in the event of a war against South Korea.
The Chinese support created a deep division between the Korean Communists, and Kim Il-sung’s authority within the Communist party was challenged by the Chinese faction led by Pak Il-yu, who was later purged by Kim.
Now North Korea will be calling in that favor, and there is a great deal of squirming in Beijing.
China Needs to Save Face
China needs a peaceful solution, but it may not happen, today China has called for all sides in the North Korean standoff to stay calm and “stop irritating each other.” It comes just one day after Pyongyang said the US was pushing the region closer to a nuclear war.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called the situation between the two sides “highly complex” and sensitive on Wednesday.
“The urgent task is to lower temperatures and resume talks,” he told reporters.
“We again urge all relevant parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, stop irritating each other, work hard to create an atmosphere for contact and dialogue between all sides, and seek a return to the correct path of dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible,” Geng said, as quoted by Reuters.
Trump is ramping up the pressure, Two US Air Force supersonic B-1 Lancer bombers flew across the Korean Peninsula in joint drills with South Korea and Japan earlier this week, Pyongyang’s speedy response accused the US of “reckless military provocation” which is pushing the region “closer to the brink of nuclear war.”
Although Trump has previously criticized China for its relationship with Pyongyang, he recently praised Beijing for its efforts to “rein in the menace of North Korea,” and has urged China to put pressure on North Korea as its main economic lifeline.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Trump said his relationship with China has already been acclaimed as being “something very special, something very different than we’ve ever had.”
But is is special enough? China is caught between a Superpower and Major Trade partner and a deep ideological link to the North Korean Communists, will comrades conquer cash? that is the real question now.
As tensions continue to simmer between Washington and Pyongyang, Trump – who has stated that a “major, major conflict” could be a reality between the two sides – said the US “shouldn’t be announcing all our moves.”
“It is a chess game. I just don’t want people to know what my thinking is,” he told CBS on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to remain in close contact with other leaders across the region with his economic might.