Protecting the Wild Un

Why is China standing by the variable, Rodman-loving Rocket Man when he’s just a hop, skip and nuclear bomb away from its border? Surely it’s like trying to enjoy a good bubble bath with a young dennis the menace standing over you with a toaster?

Despite cooperating with the international community in the latest round of Sanctions: Fully Loaded, China has always stood by its naughty neighbour to the South. Here is some food for thought as to why it could be:

  1. One explanation is to create a ‘buffer zone’: North Korea offers a rare physical space free of an otherwise all pervasive American military presence in the region. However, if anything, the Wild Un and his antics are attracting American intervention, not repelling it, so this strategy is unlikely, or at least failing.
  2. If we look at the local level, there is the issue of refugees: in the event of a crisis in North Korea, there would be massive migration into China, the scale of which would dwarf that seen in Europe over the last few years. If there is one thing China doesn’t need more of, that’s people.
  3. The last thing to consider is regional influence: China is trying to assert regional leadership, build relations with neighboring countries, and tip the balance of power in its favour. If it is to maintain credibility, China needs to be able to stand strong in the face of international pressure on one of its allies.

Whatever the reason, perhaps what’s more important is the question, ‘how strong is this relationship, and where will China be when the Dotard and the Rocket Man play with their buttons?

 

Image: Freaking News