It was Mao Zedong who said the Chinese and North Koreans were so closely allied the countries were “Like lips and teeth.”
But for some time, the two countries don’t seem to be speaking the same language. Perhaps that is because since the 1949 communist revolution in China led by Mao Zedong, China has diverged from communist orthodoxy, developing its own unique brand of ideology that includes a command economy with distinct overtones of capitalism; while North Korea has hung on to Maoist-like orthodoxy.
Be that as it may, North Koreans have fretted against the country that regards itself essentially as North Korea’s master, much as Putin regards Ukraine as part of Russian hegemony.
In turn, the Chinese regard the North Koreans with suspicion as ingrates and as possibly uncontrollable. The relationship between the two countries has often been stretched thin by North Korea’s aggressive stances toward its neighbors, including South Korea and Japan; its barbaric disregard of human rights exceeding even China’s bad record; and its zany idolatry of a succession of “dear leaders” whose demands for worship from the masses top even the late Mao Zedong’s insistence on adoration from his blue uniformed citizens.
North Korea is Mao Zedong’s China on speed: Brutal, demanding complete conformity to communist ideology, and in the thrall of a messianic and tyrannical dynasty that resembles Stalinism on crack. Now the country is rapidly outpacing the Chinese leadership’s ability to contain its renegade behavior, especially as the recklessness of the family dynasty seems to increase under each successive generation.
There are increasing hints that China may have had enough and is preparing for an intervention against its toxic protege.
According to a Telegraph report by Julian Ryall, China has leaked information about contingency plans, should the North Korean regime currently led by Kim Jong Un “collapse” and civil war ensue.
Documents drawn up by planners from China’s People’s Liberation Army that were leaked to Japanese media include proposals for detaining key North Korean leaders and the creation of refugee camps on the Chinese side of the frontier in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest in the secretive state. The report calls for stepping up monitoring of China’s 879-mile border with North Korea. […] According to Kyodo News, the Chinese report says key North Korean leaders should be detained in special camps where they can be monitored, but also prevented from directing further military operation or taking part in actions that could be damaging to China’s national interest.
The report suggests ‘foreign forces’ could be involved in an incident that leads to the collapse of internal controls in North Korea, resulting to millions of refugees attempting to flee. The only route to safety the vast majority would have would be over the border into China.
Knowing China’s tendency to word matters in veiled, if not sometimes inscrutably oblique diplomatic language, the report may indicate China is actively planning a coup against Kim Jong Un, or at least sensing one may be necessary. The deranged present leader Kim Jong Un, who is so obsessed with himself he wants every N. Korean male to have the same haircut as his, and who is accused of having his uncle devoured by dogs, may be rocketing out of control. Literally rocketing out of control– rumors of mini nuclear rockets aimed at enemy countries persist.
Chinese leadership, known for being shrewd and savvy, surely does not think North Korea will collapse on its own, plunging into civil war while the humanitarian Chinese kindly prepare for the influx of millions of refugees. On the contrary, North Korean refugees infiltrating China are routinely sent back to face the wrath of Kim Jong Un’s regime. So it can be fairly assumed the Chinese are not moved by tender regard for possible influx of homeless North Koreans.
Nor can it be assumed Chinese leadership is interested in the protection of North Korea’s military leadership, which it supposedly and humanely wishes to detain in “special camps” to prevent them from “directing further military actions.” Detaining another country’s military leaders for any reason sounds suspiciously like a coup aided and abetted by China may be imminent. It can be taken pretty much for granted that Kim Jong Un himself would be the first official needing detaining—for his own protection, of course.
Nor can we disregard the possibility that North Korean leadership has made plans to attack South Korea—recent plans that China’s intelligence has discovered. Ever since the end of the Korean War and the establishment in 1953 of the boundaries between North and South Korea at the 38th parallel, North Korea has pined for and dreamed of the day it will forcibly unite the Korean peninsula and drive out what it sees as pernicious Western influence. An envious longing for the riches and resources of South Korea is doubtless among the factors that has driven North Korea’s aggressive stance toward its southern neighbor.
Nor is the brutal occupation of Korea by the Japanese (1910-1945), who tried to eradicate Korean heritage– including the Korean language and culture– forgotten by the North Koreans in particular. The present composition of North Korean leadership has a vested interest in whipping up paranoia and thirst for revenge against Japan. North Korea has provocatively fired rockets toward Japan. This is to say nothing about the country’s continual threats to start a nuclear war against its enemies, including South Korea.
There is another factor to be considered: The divergence between North and South Korea is characterized by radically different world views. North Korea, as noted, is Maoist as Mao never dreamed possible; whereas, South Korea is heavily influenced by Christianity. According to Christianity Today:
Billy Graham’s 1973 crusade in Seoul, South Korea propelled the fast-industrializing nation into an era of explosive evangelical growth. Since then, the peninsular democracy, once a Buddhist stronghold, has become a hub for evangelicalism and the world’s second-largest missionary-sending nation. Still, the nation exists along the most heavily fortified border in the world, exposed to the nuclear brandishing of its northern neighbor and the pull of a profoundly atheistic working class, but it remains a stabilizing force in the region and a powerful launching point for the gospel in Asia. It is now the second only to the U.S. in sending missionaries abroad.
The conflict between North Korea’s communist, atheistic ideology and Christianity is a global phenomenon that has gripped the 20th and 21st centuries. But seldom has the division between the two belief systems been more radically apparent than between North and South Korea, separated as they are by the 38th parallel. Christians are under terrible persecution in North Korea, which if it were to prevail over South Korea, would assuredly extend its persecution to southern Christians.
Last, it should be noted that the vague reference to “foreign forces” is an oblique warning to the United States, whose presence in and alliance with South Korea has long been troubling to both the North Koreans and the Chinese.
In sum, something very significantly troubling has happened to cause China to warn the world about impending collapse and chaos in North Korea and to inform the world of China’s contingency plans. Whatever form those plans ultimately take, China is letting the rest of the world know matters are at a breaking point with N. Korea, as the country is increasingly an embarrassment to China as well as a threat to Chinese control.
North Korea’s leaders, as well as the entire global community, have been put on notice that China is fed up.
The original version of this article first appeared in American Thinker. Ms. Voshell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.