The Russia-China Plan For North Korea: Stability & Connectivity

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Moscow has been busy building agreements that would extend Eurasian connectivity eastward. The question is how to convince the DPRK to play along...

Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and his wife Peng Liyuan welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a banquet dinner during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, on September 4, 2017

The United Nations Security Council’s 15-0 vote to impose a new set of sanctions on North Korea somewhat disguises the critical role played by the Russia-China strategic partnership, the “RC” at the core of the BRICS group.

The new sanctions are pretty harsh. They include a 30% reduction on crude and refined oil exports to the DPRK; a ban on exports of natural gas; a ban on all North Korean textile exports (which have brought in US$760 million on average over the past three years); and a worldwide ban on new work permits for DPRK citizens (there are over 90,000 currently working abroad.)

But this is far from what US President Donald Trump’s administration was aiming at, according to the draft Security Council resolution leaked last week. That included an asset freeze and travel ban on Kim Jong-un and other designated DPRK officials, and covered additional “WMD-related items,” Iraqi sanctions-style. It also authorized UN member states to interdict and inspect North Korean vessels in international waters (which amounts to a declaration of war); and, last but not least, a total oil embargo.

“RC” made it clear it would veto the resolution under these terms. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the US’ diminishing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Moscow would only accept language related to “political and diplomatic tools to seek peaceful ways of resolution.” On the oil embargo, President Vladimir Putin said, “cutting off the oil supply to North Korea may harm people in hospitals or other ordinary citizens.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: Reuters

“RC” priorities are clear: “stability” in Pyongyang; no regime change; no drastic alteration of the geopolitical chessboard; no massive refugee crisis.

That does not preclude Beijing from applying pressure on Pyongyang. Branch offices of the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China in the northeastern border city of Yanji have banned DPRK citizens from opening new accounts. Current accounts are not frozen yet, but deposits and remittances have been suspended.

To get to the heart of the matter, though, we need to examine what happened last week at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok – which happens to be only a little over 300 km away from the DPRK’s Punggye-ri missile test site.

It’s all about the Trans-Korean Railway

In sharp contrast to the Trump administration and the Beltway’s bellicose rhetoric, what “RC” proposes are essentially 5+1 talks (North Korea, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, plus the US) on neutral territory, as confirmed by Russian diplomats. In Vladivostok, Putin went out of his way to defuse military hysteria and warn that stepping beyond sanctions would be an “invitation to the graveyard.” Instead, he proposed business deals.

Largely unreported by Western corporate media, what happened in Vladivostok is really ground-breaking. Moscow and Seoul agreed on a trilateral trade platform, crucially involving Pyongyang, to ultimately invest in connectivity between the whole Korean peninsula and the Russian Far East.

South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in proposed to Moscow to build no less than “nine bridges” of cooperation: “Nine bridges mean the bridges of gas, railways, the Northern Sea Route, shipbuilding, the creation of working groups, agriculture and other types of cooperation.”

Crucially, Moon added that the trilateral cooperation would aim at joint projects in the Russian Far East. He knows that “the development of that area will promote the prosperity of our two countries and will also help change North Korea and create the basis for the implementation of the trilateral agreements.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in visit the Far East Street exhibition at Russky Island in Vladivostok. Photo: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in visit the Far East Street exhibition at Russky Island in Vladivostok. Photo: Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev

Adding to the entente, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha both stressed “strategic cooperation” with “RC”.

Geo-economics complements geo-politics. Moscow has also approached Tokyo with the idea of building a bridge between the nations. That would physically link Japan to Eurasia – and the vast trade and investment carousel offered by the New Silk Roads, aka, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). It would also complement the daring plan to link a Trans-Korean Railway to the Trans-Siberian one.

Seoul wants a rail network that will physically connect it with the vast Eurasian land bridge, which makes perfect business sense for the fifth largest export economy in the world. Handicapped by North Korea’s isolation, South Korea is in effect cut off from Eurasia by land. The answer is the Trans-Korean Railway.

Moscow is very much for it, with Putin noting how “we could deliver Russian pipeline gas to Korea and integrate the power lines and railway systems of Russia, the Republic of Korea and North Korea. The implementation of these initiatives will be not only economically beneficial, but will also help build up trust and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

Moscow’s strategy, like Beijing’s, is connectivity: the only way to integrate Pyongyang is to keep it involved in economic cooperation via the Trans-Korean-Trans-Siberian connection, pipelines and the development of North Korean ports.

The DPRK’s delegation in Vladivostok seemed to agree. But not yet. According to North Korea’s Minister for External Economic Affairs, Kim Yong Jae: “We are not opposed to the trilateral cooperation [with Russia and South Korea], but this is not an appropriate situation for this to be implemented.” That implies that for the DPRK the priority is the 5+1 negotiation table.

Still, the crucial point is that both Seoul and Pyongyang went to Vladivostok, and talked to Moscow. Arguably the key question – the armistice that did not end the Korean War – has to be broached by Putin and the Koreans, without the Americans.

While the sanctions game ebb and flows, the larger strategy of “RC” is clear – a drive aimed at Eurasian connectivity. The question is how to convince the DPRK to play along.

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dsty's picture

Oh, Ha Ha Ha Ha

I raff out roud!

bamawatson's picture

the author was a former columbian drug lord

Rebelrebel7's picture

No. That was Pablo.  Escobar is a common name. 

NoDecaf's picture

Grrr Deep state don't like...

Lindsey gonna get spanked by White Tornado tonight

Ubuntuuser's picture

North Korea gives China a bad reputation. Who would follow China if they see the result of Communism and Chinese influence as hardship, starvation, and rule by oppressive tyrant? North Korea is China and Russia's improvement project to make China a more credible and humanist power. North Korea's government should take heed and work with China and Russia to improve and develop North Korea.

The Alarmist's picture

DPRK is communism's problem child. China has had significant influence over the years, but they have never controlled it. Thinking that they do is a fatal flaw to the US approach. Chicoms and Russia know this, which is one reason they choose to engage rather than freeze out.

Déjà view's picture

Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace".

--- Theodore Roosevelt

DPLETTENBERG's picture

That sounds like the theme of the MIC

quadraspleen's picture

You should perhaps do some light reading regarding WHY DPRK “hates” the US so much. It might surprise you; but if you know anything about the American project, it might not. DPRK is a problem to one country: the USA, as it severely limits American hegemony in that part of the world. The seats are already taken at that table. They tried to take them by force in the 50s, ran out of military targets so slaughtered 20% of the population via bombs or secondary effects of starvation after the US bombed paddy fields, water treatment and sewerage plants, and food production facilities. For nothing. Nothing was achieved. No peace treaty was signed and four generations of Koreans of all stripes have lived in fear ever since. Couple that with a childish, unsuitable leader (Kim Jong number Un isn’t so cool either) and here we are. Blaming this whole charade on China is missing the documented history.

See if you can find “the hidden history of the Korean War” it’ll make your eyes big

Harry Lightning's picture

If what you are saying is true, then why won;t the North Koreans sign a peace treaty respecting South Korea's borders ? The North Koreans hate the US because the US is the only obstacles standing in the the way of the North going back to a fighting war which would further camouflage the failures of the Kims to serve the interests of the people in North Korea. 

And yes, the Chinks deserve a major amount of blame for the actions of the Fat Slant in Pyongyang as well as those of his father and grandfather. Mao was scared shitless of having a major US staging area at his border, and sacrificed several hundred thousand of his soldiers' lives to keep his North Korean buffer. Mao never cared about the lives of his people, as he was responsble for the deaths of millions of them. But he did care about keeping his power. So he supported tese North Korean fools and none of the waiters who lead the country have the guts to change Chinese policy unless they stand to lose business. The US does not want to put this kind of pressure on China, because both countries now that China collapses within a year if it loses the US trade surplus and market to sell into. 

What China should do if it wants to put action behind words and assert its leadership role in Asia is to send its troops into BNorth Korea to end the North Korean nuclear weapons program and remove the Fat Slant and his military stooges. But China is afraid to d this for it will expose the weakness of its military It will not be able to scare away its Asian competitors from confrinting it in the South China Sea if its military is exposed as the untrained and non-battle tested force that it really is. The embarrassment that China suffered in its 1977 incursion into a battle wrecked Vietnam taught it that it should always attempt to sell the image rather than the reality of its military might.

As such, the Chinese are more than willing to let the US carry the water on this matter, and acceded to suc when they said they would not oppose a retalliatory strike by the US. Knowing full well how easy it is to manufacture a  false flag, China basically said do what you have to do to stop this lunatic befoee he causes real problems.

You write about what the Americans have done to the North Koreans. You should consider North Korea to be lucky that the Americans took the Japanese off the throne of Asian King, because if the Japanese were still in charge the Koreans truly would be enslaved as they were when the Japs used their women as their sex dolls for centuries. Can't blame them for that as Korean women are hot as a thermonuclear missile in your bed. But don't complain about what the US has done to the North Koreans, because the Japanese did much worse. 

That's the real shame of all this nonsense in Asia. The North Korean people have been raped repeatedly, first by other Asians, and then by their own dictators. The belligerence of their dictators has caused all kinds of horrors on the North Korean people, and they did not deserve such a fate. Now their leader is about to get them all killed in a most horrifying death. If you really care about them, do all you can to get the truth out, the real truth about how their ignorant fool government is going to get them all killed. Maybe they will get wise before its too late and overthrow the Fat Slant and his stooges, and in so doing, save their lives and their society. 

BennyBoy's picture

 

I like the Russia China plan.

Peaceful, promotes growth, trade & jobs. What's not to like from your border neighbors?

They dont need some asshole country from thousands of miles away interfering.

toady's picture

The author says this is a China-russia plan, but then never mentioned China again.... seems like a Russian plan to open up the Korean markets to sell their petroleum products....

Still, having all the local nations sitting at a table talking sounds like what the U.S. was after not too long ago.... The locals taking care of it....

Déjà view's picture

Chicom poker...one choice in this House Of Cards...

1. Joker
2. Trump card

Wrong one...house of cards comes crashing down...do not let idealogy cloud vision...

Winston Churchill's picture

The US has blocked all efforts to sign a peace treaty and broke the armistice terms starting in 1958.

The Norks have no reason to trust the USA.This proposal "The Iron Silk Road" has been around since 2009.

The Norks want a peace brokered and guaranteed by Russia and China.

As always follow the money, to find out whats really going on.

The Alarmist's picture

The Norks won't sign the peace treaty respecting the borders of the RoKs because there would never have been a South Korea if the US had allowed elections to have been freely made peninsula-wide after WW2. They instead installed Syngman Rhee to make the de facto division of the country permanent and he then false-flagged Kim il Sung into attacking.

Note the history ... SK declared a nation in May 1948, NK in September 1948.

With the benefit of hidsight and taking a good-vs-evil view, as you currently are, it is actually easy to miss what at the time was a fundamental falling out between two former allies, the US and USSR. The Chicoms were barely in this thing at the start. The Sovs pressed for peninsula-wide elections under the auspices of the UN because the local communist cells in the entire peninsula were better organized than their opposition, and in that day and age would likely win, and the US, being hell-bent on stopping the advance of Communism everywhere, simply installed a government where none had been before and declared the RoK open for business.

There is no question that Kim il Sung was a Sov puppet, but he fully expected the whole ball-game to be given to him, and it was pretty easy to goad him into war (see a pattern here?). The Sovs themselves wanted to contain American ambitions in the region, so they didn't go out of their way to stop the war when it came.

As for Kim, he did have a noteworthy career as a rebel fighter against the Japanese while in the Chinese rebel forces. From his perspective, you would viewed with contempt for thinking that Korea (all of it) owes its gratitude solely to the US for unseating the Imperial Japanese.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

 

If what you are saying is true, then why won;t the North Koreans sign a peace treaty respecting South Korea's borders ?

Because the US will not allow it.

You write about what the Americans have done to the North Koreans. You should consider North Korea to be lucky that the Americans took the Japanese off the throne of Asian King, because if the Japanese were still in charge the Koreans truly would be enslaved

After WW2, the US kept the Japanese administrators in place to run things in South Korea.

That's the real shame of all this nonsense in Asia. The North Korean people have been raped repeatedly, first by other Asians, and then by the US. The belligerence of the US has caused all kinds of horrors on the North Korean people, and they did not deserve such a fate. Now the US is about to get them all killed in a most horrifying death.

Notice how the above statement makes more sense when the projection is removed. It depicts the North Korean leadership as rational.

Psychological projection is a tradition for US citizens. US citizens can't put up with their own history. They have to invent a fabled past to make sense of their present propaganda.

ptolemy_newit's picture

Harry your a murderer

"What China should do if it wants to put action behind words and assert its leadership role in Asia is to send its troops into North Korea"

 

In todays world should it not be MILITARY DEFENSE.  what makes you thinkg you can charge into any country that deos not pay interest!  you would kill more than  amillion people in any effort. Why not walk away go home you destroyed enough for this centry. The death of the reserve is at your door step and the world is turning away from any relationships and soon trade with amerika.

 

Obomba  22600 bombs on innocent people in 2016 (was ther a declarration of war)?               Clinton 6 million displaced and murdered.               280 k terrorist created to flood the world.

5 TRILLION  that taken from your pocket.

BTW your are a true representation of amerika.

 

Mazzy's picture

To be fair about China's incursion into Vietnam, the Vietnamese had literally 25 years of war experience battling the French, their ideological civil war, the US, and the Cambodians.  That's 25 years of troop movements and tactics and more importantly 25 years of learning logistics.

Terrain was no help to the Chinese, literally ¾ of their force was sickened by the climate and therefore was unable to even engage, as was the case when battling India in 12-20k elevations.  Of course the Chinese tend to not furnish the right equipment for the job.  Who brings tanks into mountainous jungle?

Think for yourself's picture

North Korea has been open to reunification for decades. The US has stopped SK from cooperating because they would have to lose their foot on the ground in the korean peninsula. As always in geopolitics, who benefits?

TheRedScourge's picture

If by "reunification" you mean subjugating all of South Korea under the thumb of Kim Jong Un, that is...

And only one relatively sane man in the world wants that...

The Wizard's picture

To understand history, follow the money changers and their lap dog politicians, not historians.

Lea's picture

Quote, "Who would follow China if they see the result of Communism and Chinese influence as hardship, starvation, and rule by oppressive tyrant"

Pretty much everybody, since they know most 90% of what the Western public opinion is told about North Korea is propaganda. Meaning total, absolute baloney, just made up bunkum without any relation to reality whatsoever. As you believe everything you are told, why would they bother with sophisticated lies?

"North Korea's government should take heed and work with China and Russia to improve and develop North Korea."

And you should read something else than Western propaganda. First know your subject. Then, and only then, speak.

 

Krungle's picture

What starvation? How do people seriously believe this propaganda bullshit in this day and age? Oh, but this defector told WaPo that everyone was starving, and no, there were no pictures of said starving people, but WaPo wouldn't lie to the American people, right?

Escrava Isaura's picture

Rebelrebel7, No. That was Pablo. Escobar is a common name

Rebel,

Accept our deep apology at Zero Hedge, that after many years, we still have morons posting nonsense. Thank you for correcting moronic statement as we all should, after all, morons should keep their false believes to themselves so they won’t affect “poison” others.

Now back to the article (title):

The Russia-China Plan For North Korea: Stability & Connectivity

Well wrong title. Here’s the correct title:

The Russia-China Plan For North Korea: Another Imperialist Boss: Us.

By us we don’t mean the US, we mean us.

 

veritas semper vinces's picture

No.He does not work for the CIA

caconhma's picture

Like any prostitute, Prostitutin is desperately looking for clients. 

07564111's picture

We're not going to use lube on you ;)

caconhma's picture

May be I should send e-mail to Special Prosecutor Miller.

Instead of issuing a subpoena to Fuckbook, he should have a close look at ZeroHedge since too many Putin's associates are here.

The Alarmist's picture

I think you might have a duty to do that, since you're associating with them. Might be the only way you can get immunity.

The Alarmist's picture

Yeah, but he seems to be a more finessed dealmaker than The Donald.

quadraspleen's picture

Is that comment worth 5 or 10 dollars to your paymasters? Asking for a friend

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

 

Is that comment worth 5 or 10 dollars to your paymasters? Asking for a friend

It is worth 5 hryvnia to his paymasters, although in Latvia it pays one potato.

Harry Lightning's picture

Please say "Butterfly Shrimp" for me, I want to raff out roud too !

Caloot's picture

Sanctions are acts of war.

Harry Lightning's picture

That was has been ongoing since 1950, there was never a treaty to end it.

tion's picture

Aye, war never ended, never forget the Summer of Terror genocide, Norko reconnectivity is an eventuality.

Need moar popcorn.  My President knew he would catch heat and ridicule for the part he is playing, but he is playing it so well, may God bless him.

At this rate I may not get to begin my rogue trading efforts in the Spring after all, Russian interference is gonna rob me of adventure.

JustUsChickensHere's picture

Just from memory, it was never a war ..... never declared as such. It was referred to as a 'police action' at the time.

38BWD22's picture

 

 

We don't need any stinking 5 + 1 talks.

Let's just go home.

Trade with anyone who will pay or deliver.

Friendship with everyone, even the filthy.

giovanni_f's picture

fuck, yes! Now go and find a political platform that reliably stands for that so that you can vote for it in 3 years. At the moment 60% dumbed-down beyond all repair Americans appear to want WOAR.

MAGA BTTR - Make Ameria Great Again But This Time Really

runswithscissors's picture

The jews ruin everything.

Harry Lightning's picture

Not if you like a good stuffed cabbage with matzo ball soup. They're pretty good with that.

And hot pastrami with lettuce and spicy mustard on a club roll.

Harry Lightning's picture

Good way to give a strumpet the clue to go home.

expatch's picture

Geopolitics of this are getting more clear by the day.  I've wondered why Xi doesn't just invade NK, and come out the hero.  China would get to wear their big-boy pants by easing the global tension, and simultaneously score gratitude by all the neighboring states.  Through the long-game lens, as it starts to focus, we can see why.  If China can keep NK as a vassal without invasion, and raise everyone's fortunes via the Silk Road initiative, then they keep their hands clean while accomplishing an even larger objective.  

sinbad2's picture

 "I've wondered why Xi doesn't just invade NK"

An American view of how you do business.

WTFUD's picture

Just as much as Putin/Russia are loathe to adopt Ukraine, China probably feel the same way about PRK. Lest we forget it's Vichy DC/MIC/DS who install ( invited or otherwise ) military garrisons around the globe.

expatch's picture

Agree, which is why Xi's strategy of keeping NK a vassal seems pretty sound. Before the point about linking South Korea to the silk road, it didn't really make sense to me. He doesn't want or need a military occupation, despite the short term gains it may achieve. He wants the 50-100 year legacy, the long game.

Harry Lightning's picture

China is afraid to use its military, because it is not battle-tested and its comprised of boys who would rather be behind a computer screen than a gun. Chinese are not warriors to begin with, its not in their nature. Its why they were several times bigger than the Japs yet were ruled by them. Chinese are good-natured people who just want to have businesses or do their jobs and go home to their families. They refrain from military conflict, and for good reason. Look what happened to them when they invaded Vietrnam in 1977. The Vietrnamese were still reeling from the million or more gooks they lost when the Americans beat the shit out of them and their country. Yett hey were able to withstand the Chinese onslaught and forced the Chinese army to go back home. The North Koreans would inflict terrible losses on the Chinese before just sheer numbers alone would allow the Chinese to odefeat the Kim administration. North Korean military leaders also would participate in the overthrow of Ki when the end is near, becauase they know that they face sure death if they oppose the Chinese at that point. 

The Chinese will do everything possible to avoid having the curtain pulled back to expose the wizard. The best solution to the entire problem with North Korea would be for the Chinese to send two divisions across the Yalu. But they won;t do it out of fear of losing face Which is why they will allow the Americans to annihilate the North Koreans, because it solves a lot of problems for China as well.

ptolemy_newit's picture

Chinese , like Ruussians just want to do business with out bankers dictating government policy. THINK, remove the forward oppressive military and do business.  it is so simple.  why you think you can just invade and steal.

Why would China invade another country.  BTW how many bombs did NK drop on other countries in the last 10 years.  Now add up the USA total, so who should be nuked.

https://www.rt.com/usa/190048-usa-bombing-six-country/

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/number-of-bombs-the-united-sta...

Obamba dropped a bomb every 20 MINUTES for 8 years

 

do you have a passport, have you been anywhere?

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Your commentary output is usually some feces.