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April 6th, 2013 - 11:21 am

What could go wrong? The AP quotes administration officials as explaining that since a rift has opened between North Korea and patron China the quick-witted Obama administration has sought to widen it.

North Korea’s latest outburst of nuclear and military threats has given the U.S. a rare opportunity to build bridges with China — a potential silver lining to the simmering crisis that could revitalize the Obama administration’s flagging policy pivot to Asia …

President Barack Obama recently called China’s new president, Xi Jinping, as part of an effort to brief the Chinese about American plans to take steps to deter the threats coming from the North, The New York Times reported on its website Friday night.

But the idea may not be entirely original. Failed former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had separately said that a “unique window” had opened up to Chna and proposed the administration act to close the “trust deficit” between China and the United States.

Rudd is best known in Australia for being double-crossed by Julia Gillard and losing his Prime Ministership to a back-room plot.  Rudd never saw it coming. Be that as it may,  who better to advise on how to close the “trust deficit”? And what better way to close said deficit than to brief China on US military deployments?  By explaining to the Chinese just what America’s capabilities are? That will go a long way to reassure Beijing America has no bad intentions.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

The Army Times explains that while the recent spate of reinforcements to Korea has grabbed the recent headlines, US forces in Korea have been building up for some time.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s deployment in the last week of its most advanced fighters, bombers and warships to counter North Korea’s mounting threats has overshadowed its more gradual buildup of forces in the region.

Over the last year, the military has responded to the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia as it withdraws troops from Afghanistan and its war in Iraq recedes into history. The rebalancing of forces addresses, in part, the rise of Chinese power in the region. Other changes were made with a clear focus on North Korea.

It would be natural for China to think that Korea is not really about Korea, but about China, a possibility suggested nastily enough by Pravda.

But the Wall Street Journal, however, has another conspiracy theory. It believes the North Korean crisis is about Japan. “Beijing hopes Pyongyang sanctions will pressure the U.S. to rein in its own ‘troublesome’ ally, Tokyo.”

What does Beijing gain from demonstrating goodwill to Washington though? China’s action may be meant to suggest that if it can act tough with North Korea, the U.S. can show a similar attitude toward its biggest treaty ally in Asia-Japan.

The true target of Beijing’s actions then may not be Pyongyang at all, but rather Tokyo. Since the Japanese government nationalized the Senkaku Islands in September, Beijing-which calls the barren rocks Diaoyus-has sought to demonize and isolate its neighbor. It accuses Tokyo of harboring imperial ambitions, nurturing ultranationalist sentiments and endangering regional stability.

The way things will play out in the WSJ scenario is that China will offer to rein in North Korea — after being duly briefed on US moves in the Pacific — and in exchange Obama will lean on Japan to lower the volume on Senkaku and possibly the level of its defense expenditures.

President Obama gets a political boost from this swap of equal value and the crisis is over. But who knows?


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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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I'm going with Occam re NKorea, the little prince is just rattling sabers because that is what he saw daddy doing and it got daddy free stuff. He is probably getting bad advice from the advisors who advised his dad badly. ('bad' being debatable because, much to our shame it worked before) Junior just doesn't know there is a line that must not be crossed because he has a pet Pitt Bull at his back. Thing about Pitt Bulls, they have been known to kill their owners under certain circumstances.

Try this scenario: Little Kim is told to rattle sabers by his advisors, who are puppets of China. Everyone gets very tense until, TA-DA! China rides to the rescue saying something like: "In the best interests of the Global Community, we can no longer allow North Korea to be a rogue nation," dispatching Lil Kim and unifying China and North Korea. They can even very publicly dismantle and destroy all nuclear material and enrichment facilities- because they have their own,they don't need the Nork stuff. Everyone kisses China's collective butts for saving the world from nuclear war. They expand their empire, are now sitting on the South Korean border and collect huge world cache.
Maybe far-fetched but not a bad plan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The kid in the short pants has sat down at the big boys table and because he has nothing to lose literally he begins to bluff the biggest most insane bluff he can think of. Why? Because if someone blinks, Obamao, he will gain.

Oh, look Obamao blinked... facepalm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Remember that for centuries, the entire Korean peninsula was a Chinese fiefdom.

The legacy of that is there for all to see, but there are differences between North and South.

In the South, it is quite common to encounter Chinese words and characters in everyday use. Modified "Chinese" numerals are used for ordinal use: "Iljang" for "first", as an example. "Il " is Chinese "one", "jang" being the ordinal "indicator". When the locals go shopping, or read out a phone number, they often use the Chinese numbers.

The bizarre thing is that whilst the North has tried to "Koreanise" everything, especially the language, they have simultaneously cuddled up closer to the Chinese.

As a side note, Vietnamese is likewise full of straight and modified Chinese words. Several centuries of occupation and intense "neighbourliness" will do that to a culture. Equally interesting is that once the Jesuits introduced a "Latinised" script, instead of the modified "Chinese" ideograms used previously for Vietnamese, the levels of literacy rose steadily, as the "new" script is effectively phonetic.

The Korean "alphabet" is likewise a "phonetic" script and many characters are essentially diagrams of the relationship of the lips and tongue used to make the sound that the symbol represents.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Still is from an economic point of view...

The language thing works both ways, Kimosabe. American engrish is a mishmash of languages invented to allow commerce to happen between dialectically different cultures.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I attended an event on NYU last Tuesday on 1, instability in East Asia, and a couple of other events at Columbia on: 2. corruption in the Stans with offshore assets and, 3. energy technology and prospects. In reverse order:
3. Does anybody know anything about TMK-IPSCO?
2. Strong arguments for disclosing Beneficial Parties, at what civil liberties costs?
1. Even the Lefties hope the Japanese make German style public gestures to reconcile and ally with Korea Vietnam Taiwan etc.

If China is seeking to isolate and diminish Japan and America then that is what we should be denying. China does not have the cards, military or economic, to force hegemony. Their financial house and their social/political compact is a shambles. We do not want them to implode or explode but we should not cave in to them. There is always a chance, maybe 10% but real, that the Republic of China on Taiwan can serve as a model in being for the reconstitution of the mainland. This is more likely than the mainland successfully transcribing the Singapore model onto a larger canvas. The latter sounds like Woody Allen in "Sleeper" attempting to recreate The Leader from his nose. The former while difficult is possible. In a world that saw the Lobsters serve as an honor guard for the restoration of Charles II we could see the PLA oversee the restoration of the KMT to oversee a transformation of China. If it ever happened it would be with astonishing speed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Re: the last thread, Japan is about to commit economic suicide anyways, so I don't see why China would be all that worried about what they do.

Unless maybe they fear that the Japanese really are building a force of Gundam mecha-suits.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
O/T a bit - has anybody being paying attention to the outbreak of H7N9 virus in China? It begins with three human infections in February, thousands of pig and bird carcasses mounting in March and by April 1 China sounds the alarm... Since we've been talking about the causes and fallouts of World Wars, the Spanish Flu Pandemic outbreak in 1917 could arguably have been the reason for the Germans to negotiate with Wilson a surrender - as covered in the book "The Great Influenza" by John Barry. As of today, 18 certified infections; 6 deaths, 10 critically ill; 2 light cases. The potential for this could be quite "hot." We do indeed live in interesting times. I find it interesting this occurred right along side N.K's rising threats. For more info:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/01/is_this_a_pandemic_being_born_china_pigs_virus?page=0,0

and

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_04_06/en/index.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It has been said that China does not adhere to a culture of best practices when it comes to production of almost anything and certainly not animal husbandry...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Equal value? We 'rein in' an ally who is only trying doing status quo anti, while, in traditional Sino-Soviet fashion, they 'rein in' an ally who has stuck its d**k out. New status quo, the Chinese are a step closer to their goals.
So, the New Equal is the same ole same ole cave in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, you had me until the "quick-witted Obama administration" remark.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is pure speculation, but ...

part 1:

N. Korea says they will shoot missles at Texas! Alaska! Someplace! Whereever they land!

Obama, rather than saying "phfft! Wake me when you can hit the broad side of a barn," sends our best anti-missle tech skipping happily steaming resolutely westward.

The US military is only slightly upset about this since they think maybe they can save their budgets.

Russia starts buzzing the fleet, anaylyzing its strengths and weaknesses, getting sonar signatures, and generally planning to blow our sh!t up.

China is probably doing the same.

part 2:

Nothing happens.

part 3:

N. Korea gets some rice from China and some Potatoes and fancy liquor from Russia. Maybe a Nobel Peace Prize for Kim J.U. from the Norwegians. Obama tries for a third term on his 'record.'

part 4:

We build a new missle shield, since the old one is compromised. Lefties cry 'warmonger!'. Rinse, repeat.


Whenever this sort of thing plays out I always thing, whoever is behind it, the Russians are behind them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The Soviet Union? But I thought you guys broke up."
"Yeeeessss, that's vat ve vanted you to think. Bwahahahahahaha!"
-from The Simpsons, 'Homer Tide'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, that's an *interesting* take on things.

It seems to me that North Korea's actions are aimed primarily at modifying China's behavior, rather than the U.S. Maybe they're getting some support from Russia, maybe they're running interference for Iran, but I suspect the primary trigger for all this is some dispute between Kim and Beijing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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