Wire services are reporting that China’s senior official for foreign policy, Dai Bingguo, was effusing Sunday about a relationship he described as China’s “precious treasure.”
What would that treasure be? Why, “The traditional friendship between China and North Korea,” which State Councilor Dai described to a visiting senior North Korean official, Kim Yong-il, as “a precious treasure for our two parties, two countries and our peoples.”
Lest that sound like some sort of ancient Asian bond, tracking back to the misty beginnings of recorded time, let us note that the two parties involved are both products of the 20th century’s monstrous romance with communism, each of these parties wielding monopoly rule over its respective “People’s Republic.” And the two People’s Republics concerned — the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — only came into being as such in the late 1940s. Whatever the deeper connections among the actual populations, what Dai was celebrating is a mutually reinforcing partnership of repression and mischief-making at the top, in which China’s regime supports North Korea’s, and North Korea’s regime makes trouble for democracies from South Korea to Japan to America to Israel (recall the nuclear reactor Syria was building with North Korean help, until the Israeli Air Force destroyed it in 2007).
Yes, China went along with the United Nations Security Council on April 16 in giving North Korea a harmless slap over its latest missile launch (the Security Council condemned, deplored, etc., but did nothing likely to stop the next North Korean missile launch, or nuclear test). But Dai laid it on thick this past Sunday in publicly assuring North Korea there are no hard feelings. Not only is the relationship apparently one of Beijing’s real gems, but, praising North Korea’s new tyrant, Kim Jong Un, Dai went on to assure his North Korean guest that “China is willing to work with North Korea to take friendly cooperation to new heights.” (At any rate, that’s the Reuters translation from the Chinese. The AFP translates the statement as China planning to “push friendly and cooperative China-North Korean relations to a new level.” … Take your pick).
Just a little something to remember, next time Washington diplomats describe China as a valuable ally in dealing with North Korea.