China promises North Korea significant economic, military aid
As the war of words between President Trump and North Korean strongman Kin Jong-un escalates, this item from Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon shows that much more is going on here than an exchange of insults. Behind the scenes, China has promised increased aid to Kim's regime -- if the bellicose North Korean dictator scales back his nuclear ambitions :
China's Communist Party adopted a secret plan in September to bolster the North Korean government with increased aid and military support, including new missiles, if Pyongyang halts further nuclear tests, according to an internal party document.
The document, labeled "top secret" and dated Sept. 15—12 days after North Korea's latest underground nuclear blast—outlines China's plan for dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue. It states China will allow North Korea to keep its current arsenal of nuclear weapons, contrary to Beijing's public stance that it seeks a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
Chinese leaders also agreed to offer new assurances that the North Korean government will not be allowed to collapse, and that Beijing plans to apply sanctions "symbolically" to avoid punishing the regime of leader Kim Jong Un under a recent U.N. resolution requiring a halt to oil and gas shipments into North Korea.
And there is this:
The deal outlined in the document to be communicated to Pyongyang includes a "stern warning" combined with "related assurances to Korea at the same time."
"That is, currently Korea will not have to immediately give up its nuclear weapons, that so long as Korea promises not to continue conducting new nuclear tests and immediately puts those promises into action, our country will immediately increase economic, trade, and military assistance to Korea, and will add or continue providing the following benefits," the report states.
The first item then lists greatly increasing trade with North Korea to keep the government operating and to raise the living standard of North Koreans.
"As for products under international sanctions such as crude oil products (except for the related products clearly defined as related to nuclear tests), under the condition of fully ensuring domestic demand of Korea, we will only make a symbolic handling or punishment," the Party document said.
Past document leaks have included party documents on decision making related to the 1989 military crackdown on unarmed protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square published in the 2001 book The Tiananmen Paper.
There are obvious questions about the authenticity of the document laying out China's promises to North Korea. If it can be independently confirmed (and the authorities Gertz shared the document with said it appeared to be the real deal...but needed further study), then it puts the increasingly tense North Korean situation in an entirely new light.
It's always important to remember that China has its own interests in keeping the Kim's, or some version of the North Korean dictatorship, in place. If this document is real, and can be confirmed as China's actual policy in the region, then we may have to weigh these words from Defense Secretary Mattis in a new light as well:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Dec. 29 that he has drawn up military options for operations against North Korea.
"I don't speculate, as you know, about future operations by our forces," Mattis told reporters. "But with three U.N. Security Council resolutions in a row, unanimously adopted, each one has put significantly more pressure on the North Korean regime for its provocations, for its outlaw activities. I think you will see increased pressure. What form that pressure takes in terms of physical operations is something that will be determined by the Congress and government."
Asked if the United States is closer to war with North Korea, Mattis said: "You know, I provide military options right now. This is a clearly a diplomatically led effort with a lot of international diplomatic support. It's got a lot of economic buttressing, so it's not like it's just words. It's real activities."
That China appears to be undermining in the pursuit of its "buffer state" policy.