(…aiming for another round of aggression?)

Ever since the end of WWII, when we and our erstwhile Soviet Russian wartime allies partitioned the Korean peninsula for occupation purposes, much in the same way  as we did in Europe, North Korea has been a constant menace to peace and stability in the Far East.

While it was mainly a pawn of both the Soviets and Communist China back in the 1950’s during the Cold War era, after being militarily forced back across the 38th Parallel dividing line from its attempt to forcibly unify Korea under its own control, North Korea then became the means by which a single family’s dynastic ambitions, while paying lip-service to Communist ideology, seized and assumed totalitarian power for its own ends and benefit.

But now, much like Iran, it too seeks to have a nuclear and long range missile capability, leading us to ask…has North Korea now become an asylum run by bi-polar inmates… aiming for another round of aggression, and thus posing a potentially existentialist threat not only to the region but to the rest of the world besides?

It would appear so, and there seems very little anyone can do about it.

While China is the one power with the most direct means to rein it in it is not about to do so for a very simple reason. It must continue to sustain North Korea as a buffer state between itself and South Korea, because it can’t and won’t allow having a re-unified free and open Korea reaching right smack up to its Yalu River border with it…as a back door escape hatch for those of its citizens who might otherwise care to seek refuge there. That would pose a serious threat to its own regime’s continued control over China, and without which, China could then fracture into the same kind of chaos which followed in the wake of the Soviet Union’s demise…or perhaps even worse…like the one of its ancient Warring States era of its history.

There is also the added specter of a tsunami wave of North Korean refugees seeking refuge from a collapsing North Korea. With its own internal problems to deal with, such an added stress could overwhelm its control over its northern provinces igniting that fracturing chaos and upsetting China’s position as a world power.

Such an eventuality would also have a lot of negative impacts for the US, because such disorder and chaos there would destabilize the entire region and its own interests there. How best to contain North Korea’s ambitions and behavior is thus a dilemma for both China and the US. In that sense therefore they have a common interest in developing a joint strategic effort that would eliminate that dynastic political control over North Korea, without causing it to either implode or explode, something neither can afford to see happen.

Thus China’s call for patience is understandable. But in this instance there has to be a limit to such patience because, much like a very unstable chemical substance such as nitroglycerine, North Korea could cause a very big…bang…at any moment, and without warning.

How quickly and how well both China and the US can come up with such a strategy will depend on how well they manage to answer this question…which is more important for either of our futures together…us…or North Korea.