Friday, April 20, 2012

Beijing’s convenient bad neighbor

As long as conflict in the Korean Peninsula does not devolve into war, North Korea will remain a useful tool for Beijing to distract its adversaries

As the UN launches an investigation into the possibility that China broke international sanctions against North Korea by providing it with banned technology, the global community should think again about the role Beijing has played as a negotiator in disarmament talks with Pyongyang over the years.

Beijing denies it provided North Korea with the 16-wheel transporter- erector- launcher (TEL) vehicle, pictured at a military parade on April 15, that made Beijing, rather than Pyongyang, the main focus of the international community this week. Providing a TEL — a vehicle used to transport and launch ballistic missiles — to North Korea would be in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1874, adopted in 2009, which prohibits the supply to North Korea of “any arms or related materiel, or providing financial transactions, technical training, services or assistance related to such arms.”

Military experts who analyzed the images claim the TEL seen at the parade bore strikingly similar characteristics to a TEL design by the 9th Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


Anonymous said...

"As long as conflict in the Korean Peninsula does not devolve into war, North Korea will remain a useful tool for Beijing to distract its adversaries"

I suppose that if I change North for South and Beijing for Washington the meaning of the paragraph won't be missed, right?

Michael Fagan said...

And I suppose that "anonymous" is an anagram for "annoy sumo", which, unless J.M. is a master of disguise, would mean your coded nomme-de-guerre is out of place and that you should replace it with another one - like for instance, your real name.

But let's see... maybe you're right: Seoul does after all, pay substantial tributary sums to the U.S. in return for the protection of the USN's Pacific Command and only ever buys U.S. made weapons systems (and of course all U.S. weapons makers are the same).

And then there's the small matter of the U.S. and SK desire to target nuclear-capable missiles on Pyongyang and Beijing and to tax the use of international shipping lanes.

To sober up for just a second: there is a slight gleam of truth to the edge of your penknife there - although Beijing and Washington are seperated by the supposedly clear blue water of "democracy", both governments are founded on the non-consensual arrogation of political power. The difference that democratic institutional forms make is not the bestowal of "legitimacy", but that they necessitate a better calibration of political power to "public opinion", rather than the other way around (although the American Left have been working their way along that second vector for decades).

Anonymous said...

I prefer to single out the similarities between the policy makers of whatever country regardless their ideology (because it's a mere smoke screen to cover the more obvious goal from any policy establishment: to rein over others) than to overestimate an alleged quality of a determined way of doing politics as if it is its most important aspect.

Oh, if you don't mind I prefer "anonymus" as an anagram for "Any onus on us" (I know, I know, it's not correct)

Michael Fagan said...

"... to rein over others..."

List three specific ways in which the U.S. "reigns" over China, or over the Asia-Pacific region.