Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What China wants in return for pressuring North Korea

 It is a tempting idea to think that China can trade on its influence to enhance its strategic position vis a vis the USA.  It is nonsense.  It is nice to say so in order to lull the Chinese but that is as far as it goes.

The USA has the right and the real capacity to confront the North Koreans with a no fly zone and a series of ultimatums all aimed at the elimination of the Nuclear threat.  While inviting direct intervention by Russian and Chinese troops.

What enforces this ultimatum approach is that the USA can simply target all Nuclear facilities and the support population involved with the new air bomb technology which matches nuclear weapons.  The facilities including those underground would all be utterly destroyed and the whole personnel cohort eliminated as well.  This is no joke and there is no real counter to it.

I also think that tactical nukes can also be used here but the preference will be to avoid it. 


What China wants in return for pressuring North Korea 

by Tom Rogan | 

Jun 27, 2017, 11:12 AM


The road to Pyongyang runs through Beijing. Even President Trump admits that China is the key to persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

And Chinese action is urgent. Each passing day, North Korea moves closer to being able launch a nuclear warhead at Hawaii or the U.S. West Coast. No president can ask the people of an American state to endure the threat of a demented regime firing nuclear weapons at them.

Action is necessary.

Unfortunately, China recognizes it has major leverage. Accounting for around 75 percent of North Korean exports — the equivalent of $1.1 trillion to the U.S. economy — China knows that if it tells North Korea to do something, Pyongyang's leaders have a vested interest in listening. And here's the catch: China also knows that the U.S. government is aware of its prospective influencing power.

And from China's perspective, that's an opportunity.

Because nothing is free. In return for altering North Korean behavior, China wants the U.S. to yield to its quest to dominate Southeast Asia.

It's a quest with two strategic parts. The first is the Asia Investment and Infrastructure Bank. Offering tens of billions of dollars in grants and loans, the AIIB allows China to buy, bribe, and coerce other states into accepting its economic domination. By crowding out alternate rule-of-law based investments from the U.S., China wins a monopoly of regional political influence.

The second element is military. It involves constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea, and the militarization of those islands so that China can deny vessels transit through those waters. If China can control access to these trade-going waters, it will put immense pressure on states like Vietnam and the Philippines. They will face a choice between kneeling to China's rule or enduring economic depression.

America mustn't play this game.

Were the U.S. to accept Chinese hegemony in return for pressuring North Korea, it would abandon the region to to 1930s-style imperialism. And as with President Barack Obama's Syrian red line, it would show American willingnesss to sacrifice her interests.

There is, however, an alternative.

If the Trump administration deploys additional military assets to the region, and is seen to be credibly preparing for pre-emptive strikes, China will do much more to coerce a change in North Korean behavior. After all, as much as China wants U.S. concessions, it wants even more to avoid a war on the Korean peninsula. It knows that a war would destroy Kim Jong Un's regime, and likely send millions of refugees and tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers flooding towards China's southern border. At that point, China's sense of security would come under great threat.

All of this leads to a simple conclusion: When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. must be willing to up the ante. If we don't, China will keep believing that we are bluffing about the threat of using force against the Hermit Kingdom. And nothing short of war will change Pyongyang's calculations.

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