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Montevideo, May 27th 2019 - 07:47 UTC

Kim Jong un is challenging Donald Trump or Xi Jinping?

Tuesday, September 5th 2017 - 08:47 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Just hours after the underground nuclear test, President Xi Jinping was due to make a speech as the head of state for the nation hosting the Brics summit Just hours after the underground nuclear test, President Xi Jinping was due to make a speech as the head of state for the nation hosting the Brics summit
In March, just before Xi was set to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing, North Korea announced the successful test of a new type of rocket engine. In March, just before Xi was set to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing, North Korea announced the successful test of a new type of rocket engine.
In May Xi was preparing to open the One Belt One Road forum before leaders of dozens of nations in Beijing and off goes another North Korean missile test In May Xi was preparing to open the One Belt One Road forum before leaders of dozens of nations in Beijing and off goes another North Korean missile test

North Korea's display of missiles and nuclear weapons seems more directed to challenge Xi Jinjping's China than United States and president Donald Trump. In effect the timing of events seems to indicate Pyongyang is clearly on tack to disappoint and embarrass Beijing.

 Just hours after the underground nuclear test, allegedly a hydrogen explosion, President Xi Jinping was due to make a speech as the head of state for the nation hosting the Brics summit, which would welcome delegates from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to Xiamen.

It is conceivable that North Korea did not necessarily choose the opening day of this major diplomatic gathering for its test but it certainly did not see the need to call it off for fear of offending China.

And, what is more, these weapons test “coincidences” are now starting to mount up when it comes to Xi Jinping.

In March, just before the Chinese leader was set to meet United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beijing, North Korea announced the successful test of a new type of rocket engine.

Then in May President Xi was preparing to open the One Belt One Road forum. The leaders of dozens of nations had come to the Chinese capital to discuss economic development and transport infrastructure around the Chinese leader's signature foreign policy initiative. Then, off goes another North Korean missile test to steal the limelight before the summit could even get going.

Xi Jinping - who is also the chair of the Central Military Commission in China - cannot be happy with this emerging pattern.

The North Koreans, in turn, would be furious with the behavior of their old Cold War allies. China has not only backed sanctions against them in the United Nations Security Council but, as the isolated regime's principal trading partner, it has also been the principal implementer of these sanctions, turning back coal shipments and the like.

Yet most observers know that, if it really wanted to, Beijing could bring crippling economic pain to North Korea. Heading into winter, it could freeze oil and gas supplies, and there are the banks.

North Korea is thought to conduct an enormous amount of laundered business via Chinese financial institutions. Various front businesses have been set up to facilitate money and products to flow in and out of the country with the assistance of these bodies.

The Chinese government cannot be unaware of this and they could pull the plug on it tomorrow if they wanted to. But they don't for one reason.

The Chinese government does not like the regional instability that their neighbor's nuclear weapons testing program brings, but Beijing fears something even more.

They worry that total regime collapse in Pyongyang, leading to a unified Korean Peninsula dominated by the South, could lead to US troops on the Chinese border and they will put up with an awful lot from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as long as this does not happen.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's official response to the latest North Korean nuclear weapons test condemned it strongly but, with increasingly loud calls coming for this country to do more to pressure Kim Jong-un to give up intercontinental ballistic missile ambitions, there would be serious frustration within the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party as to what they can realistically do next.

The North Korean leader has made his nuclear ambitions a hallmark of his administration to the extent that it is hard to see what type of offering or threat could alter this situation.

That is, unless the US and China have come up with a secret agreement which would see United States troops leave Korea in the event of unification… if that was in place it could change everything.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Islander1

    Question for anyone - Does China recognise and have reasonable relations with South Korea?
    If it does then possible solution could be- USA says it will flatten the North and remove its troops from Korean Penninsular - South can then take over and rebuild the north when radiation levels allow and all are happy - China-South Korea- USA and all the rest of the sane world!

    Sep 05th, 2017 - 01:05 pm +1
  • Islander1

    Not an unprovoked attack- but the next missile podgy fires will have to be shot down if technically possible over Japan or wherever, as that missile is a clear warlike threat - and if it goes mushroom up in space showing it was Nuclear armed - then the world has a clear right to take North Korea out. I guess first salvoes all into southern N Korea to reduce chances of them taking out Seoul.
    But yes - if China can simply take out podgy and his cronies and replace him with a more “normal” dictator - good idea!

    Sep 05th, 2017 - 03:54 pm +1
  • DemonTree

    They tracked the most recent missile and knew it wasn't going to land anywhere near Japan, and I sincerely doubt that Kim Jong-un has enough spare nuclear warheads to waste any. But you're still suggesting starting a nuclear war; NK has real nuclear missiles they can launch as soon as they see anything incoming, and in that case they would be headed for Japan, not over the country's head. Apart from the massive destruction, you're left with all the fallout to deal with afterwards too, and China is *highly* unlikely to agree to let the US drop nuclear bombs on a country next door.

    Much better for China to deal with the problem, if they haven't already let Kim get too far out of control.

    Sep 06th, 2017 - 09:37 am 0
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