The PRC Should Invade North Korea

In another thread, a couple of our fellow posters have been discussing the possibility of forming a little posse to go in and take out Kim Jong Il in North Korea. While we keep one eye on that situation, here is another suggestion that I am curious to get people’s reactions on:

Has anyone read the piece by the author of China’s Democratic Future discussing an invasion of North Korea by the PRC? The one that begins:

The full article seems to be only available to those fat-cat Republican types with subscriptions to the online version of the Journal, but here’s a link to one of the recent discussions of the piece. It has a couple of extended quotes from the original article

[quote]China as the only country with the military capacity and national interest to do the job: It is Beijing’s sphere of influence that Pyongyang is destabilizing with its nuclear adventurism. Nor is it in Beijing’s interest to have a crumbling regime as its neighbor, as evidenced by the continual embarrassments over how to deal with a flood of starving refugees.

A People’s Liberation Army-led invasion could be a clean-cut affair. It would not require passing through other countries, or even using their territory as support centers. China’s experience with the ethnic Korean autonomous regions in Manchuria would give it an ample supply of administrators and institutions to rule Pyongyang for a transitional period, until the formation of a new government.[/quote]

This other site also has some of the text, along with commentary such as:

Not sure if the PRC would pack quite the same punch as the proposed Forumosa DPRK Liberation Posse, but they do certainly seem to be a more likely possibility than the US is. Whether anyone could/should invade at all, is of course another question. (The subject line of this post, therefore, should only be read as a summary of the suggestion itself, rather than my advocacy of it.)

I’ve read in both English and Chinese media sources that the PRC already has contingency plans in place just in case the North Korean government collapses. As far as just plain old infantry is concerned, Liaoning and Jilin have some of the highest concentrations in China, all of it on the border.

I think they are mostly worried about large numbers of refugees pouring over the border. The military has long been in charge of patrolling for illegals and sending them back across. I think only recently have the mainlanders started to consider that they may actually have to cross over the border to contain whatever fucked up situation that may arise, if not totally invade.

It may not seem so to us, but one thing that would make Beijing pause before invading NK is the reaction from the Chinese people. Many of them have quite nostalgic feelings for NK and see themselves as the big brother. It just doesn’t seem to connect in their brains that all those refugees who come across the border are leaving for very good reasons. I have two friends from Liaoning, one of whom lives within sight of the border and saw N Koreans crossing illegally almost every day but never thought much of it :loco: . When I suggested to them that China would one day invade NK in order to fill a power vacuum, they were shocked. They just couldn’t understand how there would ever be a need for that or that their government could do something for its own self interest rather than stand by their NK tongzhi.

For the time being, all those PLA regiments on the border are there to police for refugees and as a just in case precaution. However, if we start seeing a cooling toward NK in the PRC media, then that can be interpreted as Beijing preparing their people for a change of policy and perhaps military intervention. Even so, this would be a huge about face for most mainlanders. I imagine the only thing that would be more difficult for the average mainlander to accept would be official Taiwan independence.

Thanks, JT. I have never discussed North Korea with anyone on the Mainland before, so this was a very interesting perspective to consider.

Interesting point about being on the lookout for cues from the PRC media as well. I do remember reading that DPRK media coverage of the PRC has cooled a bit, with many in the N. Korean government upset at what they view as China’s overly lenient attitude toward the refugees. Presumably what the PRC wants to prevent is a massive refugee crisis on its own border. At the moment, however, they seem to be less willing to prevent N. Korean escapees who just want to use China as the first stage of their journey to South Korea (where they eventually arrive via boat from Vietnam).

The cynic in me (actually saying ‘in’ may be pushing it, I think i may be 100% cynical) thinks that China is very happy right now with North Korea. As long as the North Korean’s are giving everybody else, and particularly the US, cause for alarm, the more leverage China has. I am fairly sure that there are a number of issues that the US would like to push China on a little more forcefully at the moment, but is held back by the possibilty of help on the North Korean front. I may of course be being far too cynical, but I doubt any of the top leadership in the PRC got where they are without mastering the art of chicanery, bullshit and ‘making the best of a bad situation’ cough cough.

North Korea is the worst human rights violator in the world today and also the most dangerous possessor of weapons of mass destruction. It’s everything that Iraq was supposed to be and more and virtually no one disputes it.

Its main railway is lined with walls so high that foreign passengers can’t see the countryside.

It is also the most repressive and brutal country in the world, with entire families sometimes executed if one member gets drunk and slights the Dear Leader.

It is at the same time by far the most totalitarian, with nearly every home equipped with a speaker that issues propaganda from morning to night. Two million North Koreans died of starvation in the 1990’s because the government of Kim Jong Il diverted limited national resources to building up its weapons of mass destruction arsenal.

[color=blue]“The problem is, people want war. They believe they are living this hard life because there’s going to be a war. If there’s going to be a war, why not just get it over with? They believe they’ll die either way, from hunger or war. So the only solution is war.”[/color]
Pak Su Hyon, North Korean defector

[color=blue]“Everybody believes a war will break out sooner or later. A hundred percent want war to occur. The food shortage is terrible. Distribution is halted, so people figure they will die of hunger or die in war. They’re even prepared to die in a nuclear war. A hundred percent believe that North Korea would win, so they support war. They were brought up to worship Kim Il Sung. No matter what changes occur, they always worship Kim Il Sung. They’ve been so brainwashed since birth that they’re willing to die for the country.”[/color]
Ko Chung Song, North Korean defector

[color=blue]"Pyongyang is the world’s worst nightmare