OK, the whole North Korea shtick is getting tiresome.
Big Red Car here on a sunny and promising day. Hope it’s nice where you are.
Know where it’s not nice? Yeah, North Korea.
So, what’s going on with China and the North Koreans? China is the “shot caller” here. That’s the legend.
But, what’s going on.
Let me punch line it for you — the Big Red Car thinks China is jerking the world around. [Contentious, Big Red Car. Why you wanna be so damn contentious all the damn time?]
On one hand, the Chinese want to have good relations with the United States of America. We had the whole “let’s meet for brunch” summit at Mar-a-Lago whereat President Trump and President Xi (and their wives) made nice on each other for the public to see. [Folks are saying President Xi wore a Trump brand suit.]
The world thought — post-summit — the North Korea situation would get better. Has it?
Who thought the US would station a carrier battle group and a couple of boomers (nuke capable subs) between Korea and Japan?
Chinese Trade With North Korea
The Big Red Car is a devotee of following the money. So, where is the money going?
The money, dear reader, is going into more and more trade between China and North Korea.
1. Q1-2017, Chinese trade with North Korea is up 37% when compared to Q1-2016.
Sound like China’s tightening the thumbscrews on Kim Il Mojo to you?
2. China is a big purchaser of North Korean stuff. Stuff includes metals (zinc, iron ore) and minerals.
Chinese importation of North Korean iron ore, Big Red Car? UP 270% Jan/Feb 2017 v Jan/Feb 2016.
When China buys stuff, North Korea taxes it and receives funds to run their nuclear program.
Sound like China’s tightening the thumbscrews on Kim Il Mojo to you, dear reader?
3. North Korea built big textile plants in the north (close to the Yalu River border with Manchuria) to serve Chinese appetites for fabric and clothing. This trade continues to increase.
4. China buys seafood from North Korea.
5. China did decrease coal imports from North Korea by 52%, but this was as a result of a United Nations mandate months before the Mar-a-Lago pow wow. It had nothing to do with President Trump’s actions. China says the decrease in coal importation is their way of punishing Kim Jong-un for killing his half brother in Malaysia.
[Pro tip: The Chinese stockpile huge amounts of coal for power generation and other uses. They still have existing stockpiles of NK coal, so how real is this coal halt? In fairness, the Chinese have begun to buy meaningful amounts of American coal.]
6. What has not happened is China has made no attempt to turn off the spigot on oil. Even in this part of the world, there is oil politics. If the Chinese wanted to send Kim a message? “No oil for you, fat boy.”
Why Does China Love North Korea?
At the heart of everything with China is this — the Chinese do not want to have a South Korean style democracy on their border. Militarily, they consider it to be an invasion route and a well tethered aircraft carrier. Simple as that.
The Chinese are, rightfully, skeptical about their neighbors. The Japs did mischief in that part of China from 1931 until being expelled at the end of World War II in 1945. They launched their invasion from … wait on it … Korea, thereby validating the whole invasion route thesis.
The Chinese have a long memory and incidents like the Wanpaoshan Incident and the Mukden Incident are still fresh wounds. [For you historians, remember Japan occupied Korea in those days and the Chinese and the Japs were staring at each other continuously.]
When the Japs invaded Manchuria, they set up a fake, puppet state called “Manchukuo.” Just the renaming of Manchuria infuriates the Chinese. They do not like foreign invaders renaming stuff.
There is a well-founded concern in China about neighbors.
The Chinese built a freakin wall around the whole country. They made the Mexicans pay for it. [Haha. That’s a joke.]
Bottom Line It, Big Red Car
OK, here it is. The Big Red Car thinks the Chinese will do nothing to overthrow Kim and they will never allow a South Korean style democracy on their border. Bottom. Line.
If the Chinese snapped their fingers, Kim Dung-un would be gone.