China wants North Korea to remain as a buffer state

Updated By on Apr 24, 2017, 09:00 am
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By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday – It seems that the true intention of China toward the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, which shows no sign of settlement, has become clearer in recent days. In short, it seems that China wants North Korea to remain as a buffer state forever. In other words, China wants the North to protect its front yard from America and Japan as it has been for the past 70 years.

This assertion is not an exaggeration considering a series of steps that China has been making. According to a Beijing source familiar with China-North Korea relations on Sunday, China's real intention is well shown in the editorial of the Global Times, the sister newspaper of the People's Daily, published on Saturday. The newspaper made it clear that China will respond immediately if the U.S. and South Korea try to topple the North Korean regime through military intervention. China clearly showed its strong will not to allow North Korea to be collapsed by external attacks.

Even if the worst comes, China's attempt not to cut off crude supply, which is like the lifeline of North Korea, is in the same context. Currently, it is estimated that North Korea imports about 500,000 tons of crude oil from China annually. Obviously, North Korea will be in serious trouble if China halts crude oil exports to North Korea. Even if the North hurriedly releases its crude oil reserves, there is a limit. The military oil to be used in case of emergency is also likely to fall short. Nevertheless, China doesn't seem to be considering this powerful card. Rather, China is raising its voice through the media and opinion leaders that it should stop the collapse of the North Korean economy by providing the least amount of crude oil.

The East Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy, which is frequently being trained in the western coast of South Korea./ Source: China Youth Daily

On the military side, China seems to be hoping that the North Korean regime remains firmly to remain as a buffer state. For instance, China has dispatched a large number of troops to the North Korean border near the Yalu River and has strengthened its awareness in preparing for war. Besides, the East Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy has been carrying a series of military drills in the western coast of South Korea. All of these moves prove that China has been doing military demonstrations to support North Korea. Prof. J of Peking University, who demanded anonymity, said, "China would rather replace Kim Jong-un regime in the worst case than abandoning North Korea. The value of North Korea as a strategic assets for China is beyond imagination." We could conclude that China wants to maintain the status quo.

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