I’ve been reading quite a bit of Foreign Policy magazine lately and I love their coverage on all things China. It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who looks at China and sees an adversary. This article grabbed my attention more than the others because it focuses on how China props up North Korea while pretending that it doesn’t have much leverage over them. China likes having the Korean peninsula divided because they fear that unification would make South Korea even more of a trade threat and China doesn’t want U.S troops at her border. The article is certainly worth a read and I’ve been engaged in the comments section quite a bit.
For those who worry about North Korea, the past few months can best be described as a time of quiet despair. Since North Korea reneged on the “Leap Day” food aid deal in March by announcing the test of a long-range rocket (the test later failed), it has become painfully clear that neither engagement nor sanctions will deliver what many in Washington still consider to be the only acceptable outcome: the denuclearization of North Korea. And China, long considered the best hope to push North Korea in the right direction, has spent the seven months since Kim Jong Un took power stepping up its efforts to maintain the status quo for its unstable neighbor, increasing aid and trade with Pyongyang.
China already controls approximately three-quarters of North Korea’s foreign trade and is by far North Korea’s largest provider of food aid — possibly the only thing preventing North Korea from sliding back into famine. But instead of tweaking its aid in response to the North’s bad behavior, China has demonstrated a remarkable willingness to spend money on keeping the Kim family regime afloat, quietly sabotage international sanctions in the process.