China Lashes Out At North Korea

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Zachary Zeck via The Diplomat,

Tensions appear to be quickly mounting between the erstwhile allies North Korea and China.

Last week I noted that North Korea has reportedly begun hanging banners declaring that China is “a turncoat and our enemy” at its Kang Kon Military Academy. The characterization of China as a “turncoat and our enemy” was coined by Kim Il-Sung, North Korea’s eternal leader, in 1992 but has been invoked by Pyongyang on a number of occasions since to express its displeasure toward Beijing.

The feeling seems to be mutual these days, if the Global Timesa state-run Chinese newspaper—is any indication. As my colleague Shannon noted earlier today, the Global Times published an editorial on Thursday that contained unusually harsh criticism of North Korea. Although the editorial focused primarily on North Korea’s nuclear program, it also includes some other more general criticisms of Pyongyang. For example, it stated: “If Pyongyang continues to follow this [nuclear] path, it will suffer long-term isolation by the international community and the country’s poverty will never be eliminated. The risks these factors pose to the Pyongyang regime can hardly be offset even if North Korea truly becomes a nuclear state.” North Korea has been extremely critical of foreign leaders that characterize North Korea as being wrecked by poverty.

The Global Times editorial also suggested that North Korea’s claims about its nuclear progress were exaggerated, and warned against trying to exploit the divergence between China and America’s approaches towards its nuclear program. “The North’s nuclear issue has caused some divergence between China and the US,” the editorial stated. “If Pyongyang thinks this provides an opportunity for it to further develop its nuclear capabilities, it should give up such fantasies.”

At other points in the piece, the Global Times characterized North Korea’s heavy reliance on missile and nuclear tests as a clear demonstration of its overall weakness. “Nuclear tests and missile launches have become Pyongyang’s only diplomatic cards, which is unfortunate for Pyongyang and the entire Northeast Asia.” Similarly, it said the reason why North Korea emphasizes its nuclear program so much is because “Pyongyang’s deterrence is so weak that it has no other ‘leverage’ than nuclear weapons.” Nonetheless, the Global Times dismissed North Korea’s nuclear technology as primitive, and said that it is “not enough to truly deter Washington.” As a result, the Global Times said that North Korea should abandon its long followed path of isolation in Northeast Asia.

China has not limited itself to media criticisms of North Korea, however. As I noted earlier today, in response to North Korea’s medium-range ballistic missile tests last week, the UN Security Council openly condemned Pyongyang. This would not have been possible without China’s acquiesce (North Korea responded by threatening to conduct a “new form” of nuclear test, which was the proximate impetus for the Global Times’ editorial).

Probably more disconcerting for North Korean leaders, China has openly backed South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s new initiative that aims to ease the eventual reunification of the two Koreas, which have been divided since the end of WWII. Park made this initiative a central focus of her trip to Germany last week, stating: “Germany is an example and a model for a peaceful reunification of our own country.” Park also said while in Germany that she saw three ways to bring the Koreas closer together: more family reunions, more humanitarian aid and helping to build up North Korean infrastructure.

On Thursday, China came out strongly in favor of Park’s proposal. During a press conference, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated: “China always supports the ROK (South Korea) and the DPRK (North Korea) in improving their relations through dialogue, promoting reconciliation and finally realizing an independent unity.” This followed comments Chinese President Xi Jinping made during a meeting with Park on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit last week, in which Xi announced his support for an “independent and peaceful reunification” of the two Koreas.

North Korea has been far less enthusiastic about President Park’s initiative. In fact, earlier this week North Korea’s state media blasted Park’s reunification plan for having a “sinister intention for ‘unification by absorption,’ which will escalate north-south confrontation and war danger and keep national division permanently.” The report was laced with extremely sexiest language directed toward Park, and suggested that she had given the speech in Germany because if she had made it in South Korea, “she would be shot to death like her father.” Its overarching conclusion was that Park had brought disgrace upon the Korean nation.

It’s worth noting, however, that North Korea has not stood idle as China has ratcheted up its rhetoric and actions toward Pyongyang. To begin with, it has opened up an official dialogue with Japan, a country that China is increasingly at odds with.

Similarly, South Korea media reports this week indicate that “North Korea has reinforced customs checks on shipments of mining products to China,” which has hindered North Korean exports to China and Chinese investment into North Korea’s economic development zones. New trade restrictions were anticipated following last December’s execution of Jang Song-thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle and the then-second most powerful individual in North Korea. Jang was largely seen as the North’s main interlocutor with the Chinese and a proponent of focusing on economic development. Among the long-list of trumpeted up charges that were leveled against Jang following his purge was the accusation  that he had allowed foreigners to exploit North Korea’s natural resources and land, which was widely seen as a not-so-subtle reference to Jang’s economic dealings with China.


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Harrison's picture

Obviously a false-flag operation planned by the EU and supported by the CIA!!1!

DeadFred's picture

China's going to annex North Korea now? But who would want to?

MeMadMax's picture

NK is nothing moar than a leech on china's leg.


If SHTF for china(which is what appears to be happening as we speak) then china will need to get rid of the leech.


weburke's picture

lets see, elites support a sparta for three generations with no plans to use? dismiss because the act goes on too long?

Reptil's picture

According to this Time article, the N-Koreans are very dangerous:

OBVIOUSLY it's about the western bank-militiary industrial - nuclear -petro-chem cartel vs. the Chinese & Russians (BRIC).
Pressure Points: N-Korea, Malaysia. Transparent attempt to disguise this in the main steam media as "safety measure".

With this regard that the Central Banks are playing both sides. Or perhaps not.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

What's more in China's interest?

(a) unified ROK with US military on the Yalu?

(b) pathetic needy failed state run by a criminal mafia?


M'thinks the Chinese are going with option (b).

HardAssets's picture

Article from that punk Zeck at Diplomat - so put on



Just saved time & attention

Alcoholic Native American's picture

Nobody likes a hot head relative.

old naughty's picture

Unless Japan gets close (to enemy of my enemy) and "dumps" its spent rods to NK. Oooooops.

"Evil" empire turns nasty.

DeadFred's picture

If the it's an uncle it's a headless relative.

nmewn's picture

Emperor Hirohito save us!

Joebloinvestor's picture

Phony headline.

When China "lashes out" at North Korea it will make headlines.

They will stomp a six foot mudhole in the place.

loveyajimbo's picture

Nuclear war between N. Korea and China...  well, OK, let 'em ROCK.  Adios, Kim Jong-Moe.

SilverRhino's picture

If China nukes North Korea with groundbursts that kills THREE birds with one stone. 

1) Eliminates North Korea as a possible threat

2) Dumps radioactive fallout all over Japan 

3) Drops an impoverished failed state on South Korea's doorstep and keeps South Korea economically occupied for the next 2 decades.


Win-Win-Win for Chinese strategists. 

effendi's picture

I doubt that Japan would cop as much fallout as North-East China (including the capital).

China would just get some NK Generals to engage in regime change. Much less messy.

lakecity55's picture

You would ahve to assume the PRC has infiltrated the Nork regime, so I bet they could do that anytime they decide to.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

It is actually very simple why they want a unification. They can pull the troops away from the border of NK since they won't have deal with a refugee problem of methhead NK's trying to escape the place at that point. It becomes SK/NK combined problem then and that combined resources allows for them to deal with it instead of the Chinese.

SmilinJoeFizzion's picture

When all else fails, send in Dennis Rodman

Lux Fiat's picture

Better Dennis Rodman than Michael Vick.  Kim Jong Ug might get some crazy ideas if Vick showed up.

I Write Code's picture


Hagel made some noise today about both Norks and China:

TOKYO - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.

In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.


lakecity55's picture

Japs also say they will now shoot down any Nork rockets coming their way. That will really po the woodchuck.

buzzsaw99's picture

China is sick and tired of dealing with refugees from North Korea methinks.

Charles Wilson's picture

But do the Chinese want to have to deal with North Korean war brides?

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Yes. You haven't heard of the shortage of women stemming from the one-child genocide? North Korean war brides would be highly prized.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Chinese don't care because the international community doesn't care. Tibet anyone? China has been committing wholesale genocide in Tibet but the world goes on. Few Norks aren't even on their radar. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Here, I'm bored... did you know most of China north of the Korean peninsula was historcally part of Korea? The whole are was part of Koguryo. To THIS day... almost 500 years after swiping the area from the Koreans... the indigenous population of that area STILL speaks Korean.

So here's the dirty little secret... they're alllll Korean in that area. Even the so-called "Chinese" aren't friggin Chinese.

dubbleoj's picture

Sexiest language?! Did Kim Jongeun draft the report himself? That haircut, those gopher cheeks...mmmm so sexy.

lakecity55's picture

The old lady told me she read where all males in Nork now  have to have the same haircut as jr. woodchuck. They had 10 styles to choose from, now only 1. I told her with all of them having the same haircut, it makes it harder for a shooter to take him out.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

His handlers actually fattened him up and made him get that hairdo to look more like granpappy. Believe it or not... it's also PR. They even tweak his speeches so his voice sounds more like Kim 1.0.

Colonel Klink's picture

Kim Jong Un-done.  Careful the dog that bites the hand that feeds it.

Lux Fiat's picture

Perhaps the Old Yeller story is about to play out again.  Doesn't matter how useful the dog was, when it goes rabid, it has to be put down, as it won't be particular anymore about who it bites.

DaddyO's picture

Sorry Folks, I ain't buying it. NK may appear to be a bastard step child of the old school commies, but don't be fooled.

Most of their foodstuffs and durable goods come from where?

Doesn't anybody else find it odd that Syria, Libya, Irag and many of the other stans get a fart crossways and they get their little pee pees slapped.

Yet Kim Jong Loon does as he pleases without so much as a tap to the top of his fat little head.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, theater, pure theater.

And consider the source of this article, The Diplomat, that bastion of great and benevolent thought from those who know best for the rest of us plebes.


Leaping Lizard's picture

Whenever the Tylers need to take a piss, they post a Diplomat article :-)

813kml's picture

The Diplomat is a publication best enjoyed while taking a #2, that way you are sure to have something with which to wipe.

UselessEater's picture

cut the toilet breaks boys; pleeeease.

yogibear's picture

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, theater, pure theater."

Exactly! A Chinese PLA production.

Used as a diversion.

jonjon831983's picture

DPRK has been a convenience for both sides US + China.


Seems there have been attempts to thaw relations between old enemies like Iran, Cuba, and DPRK over the last couple years.  Definitely think it is part of and adaptation to shifting geo-political situations ie, head off China + Russia.


Maybe China is starting to feel they can't hold proxy power as easily over DPRK now and is willing to get a tougher stance and try to play DPRK vs the South a bit more to keep some stability.


ie. if SHTF, DPRK refugees + soldiers will be pouring out in all directions causing intense turmoil for neighbors.


Something... that would definitely benefit the West in terms of further destabilizing the region.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

I gotta agree... Norks having been getting the kid glove treatment  for better part of 50 years. Must have been since the 90s it was known in intel circles the Norks were laundering serious money through Macau, but they just let it slide for years. But if Iran even farts the wrong way we threaten to nuke em back to the stone age. Maybe its cause the Norks actually live in the stone age. Who knows.

22winmag's picture

The red headed stepchild you used to beat on has grown up.


The 4th largest army on Earth (with a handful of nukes to boot).

kurt's picture

Posturing, disinformation, or not important to us. The volume of false trails, diffuse, mislead, dilute, confuse. Dear God, the VOLuME of shit that gets put in our face. Complexity is not verite'.

401K of Dooom's picture

Doesn't suprise me.  I hear that NK and China hate each other.  I'm suprised that the PRC does not try to bump off DPRK in order to take care of a problem that inflicts crap on everyone in Asia.  In particular the North Koreans have kidnapped several citizens of Japan, as a matter of fact some of them from Japan's territory.  the poor Japanese have to sit by and watch as their own people are kidnapped in order to allow the Norks to traintheir spies in how to act like foreigners.  What would we do if that happened to us?

jeff montanye's picture

well, judging by what we do when israel does it, i'm guessing not a damn thing.  of course i could be wrong.  we don't have people with north korean passports and service in the north korean army making our foreign policy.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Norks hate everybody. Including themselves. Lol.

Carpenter1's picture

NK's a diversionary noisemaker. Always has been. Nothing they do or say adds up to a hill of beans.

yogibear's picture

China pays to use them as a diversion when Washington gets tough with China.

The US then backs off and begs China to work with North Korea to ease up.

sangell's picture

North Korea is nation that survives buy threatening to committ 'suicide by cop'. IOWs give me aid or I'll go nuts and you'll have to kill me but I'm armed and I can put 50,000 artillary shells on Seoul in a week before you can destroy me.

SilverRhino's picture

A week?  More like an hour.

teslaberry's picture

people don't really understand why north korea is fucked. 


here's why. 


the decades old solid iron backing of china is off the table, because CHINA realizes that the U.S. is weak, and is now strategizing to bring south korea closer to china just as russia has brought germany closer to russia. 

china is trying to turn south korea. this will require it start turning the table on north korea, which has ZERO LEGS to stand on as it is so impoverished is has no slack in it trade . every inch of rug pulled by china is a foot of poverty imposed closer and closer to the center of the north korean power leadership and praetorian guards/nk-cia.

when the dictator in chief can no longer spread the cash and booty to his own inner circles and guards, they will find their chedder elsewhere, or even kill him. or he kill them. either way, the cookie begins crumbling. 


the US IS WEAK AND THUS NORTH KOREA IS SCREWED. this is counter-intuitive, but it's the fucking truth. 

china is not going to  sacrifice anything meaningful without getting something for it. and the increasing loyalty of south korea is worth about 10x more leverage against the u.s. than the loyalty of nuclear pyongyang. that's a political arbitrage if there ever was one. 


not only would china look good to south korea for censuring or even punishing outright north korea---but it would endear them in the eyes of the soviet european union. and maybe the russian federation also. 


and the only bizzarre wrinkle for russia is that russia actually has a sliver of border with north korea on the coastal edge of the tumo river. 

russia could just as well allow china to confiscate the north korean edge of the border by annexing a strip of land, china could get some more territory and coastline on the west coast  and north korea can continue to shrink until china helps set off full scale starvation in the country. maybe even using nuclear and biologicals in secret. 

fuck ---how would anyone even know-----there's so little telecom in the country going to the outer world anyways. 


china does this for south korea and south korea begins to agitate to kick out u.s. troops from south korea. HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES. WINNING THE FUCKING WAR WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT. 


yea, that is why north korea is screwed. their best friend china is going to stab them in the back to try stealing some southern style pyoon from the big baddy americans.


if you disagree with me, first ask, what has china got to lose by this overture? they can always go 'back' to just 'dealing' with a semi-loyal north korea. this is a no fucking brainer.


when you soon start hearing about south korean 'nationalists' in the news that are not agitating against china but against the united states presence in SK. you will know you heard it hear first. 

south korea IS NOT JAPAN. and has historical enmity against japan. if china could help them land a peaceful reunification, as did the u.s. for easy and west germany---china would get ALL THE BENEFIT. and a massive wave of anti-americanism would pour into the SK streets. NOT the other way around. you'll see.......


Joenobody12's picture

If South Korea wants, she can secretely negotiate with China. She can promise to take the first step of kicking the US troops out as long as China follows through with taking N.Korea's Dear Learder out. Short of that, China will not make a move for fearing the evil US may put missiles on S. Korea soil. China will not abandon the buffer zone provided by N. Korea's evil existence. 

But of course China can take the first step of getting rid of the Dear Leader and install a puppet who will be forced to negotiate a reunification with the South soon as the US troops are kicked out. 

Dr. Bonzo's picture

I been sayin this to Koreans for 20+ years. They just don't get it. Or maybe we don't get it. I worked with a ROKAF colonel when they were doing the procurement for their nextgen fighter. He was basically drunk the whole time. Seemed to me at the time the Eurofighter was the best fit for the ROK but he basically said Korea would get the F15 no matter what. See? The fix was in. The Koreans were just gaming to get a better price, but there was never any doubt they were going with the F15.

I think your option 2 is the mostly iikely outcome. Chinese puppet. Problem is.... that might not work out so well for the Chinese.

What the South Koreans need to realize is they stand a real chance of actually losing the northern part of their country to the fucking Chinese if they don't start playing better ball.

Beyond caring at this point. Koreans can't be reasoned with, even when you try to point out its in their best interest. Whatever.