So, nice way to end the week — my neighbours might be going to war. Fuck.
I’ve been operating with newsblinders on lately as I try to keep everything on the rails with a new baby in the house (apologies for a lack of updates, but that’s why). As such, it hit me off guard when I read this Guardian article moments ago about South Korean findings that point to the North having sunk their ship back in March.
The short recap — military South Korean ship on routine patrol near disputed maritime boarder between the two nations blows up and sinks, killing 46 crew. Joint investigation with British, U.S., Swedish and Australian experts finds that “The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired from a North Korean submarine. There is no other plausible explanation.” DPRK, hearing of the report, announces loud and clear that should the South retaliate, it’ll be all out war. Keeping things in perspective, they issue the same warning when South Korean media makes fun of “Dear Leader”.
South Korea screams, “Something must be done. Blood for blood!” DPRK screams, “Better not, we might have nukes, and they might work.” Whitey nations scream, “Damn right something needs to be done! This isn’t fair! You’ve twisted our titties for too long!” DPRK screams, “Seriously, just let us blow your shit up. Don’t piss us off. We’re brainwashed, damn hungry and have not much to do!” Japan screams, “This is ridiculous, to hell with trying to work things out with you guys!” DPRK screams, “Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!”
China screams, “…”
Popular thought seems to be that China’s silence has little to do with the two countries shared historic distaste for McDonald’s, and more that China fears instability in its north eastern neighbour would cause an influx of cross-border shopping, and Dandong’s just not really setup for that.
Seriously, can it really be that China’s worried that Dongbei will be overrun with under-fed North Korean defectors? I mean, more than it already is? I lived in Dongbei, and the Korean influence is about the only thing its got going for it. And hell, even if the ENTIRE population of North Korea crossed the Yalu, it would only be the equivalent population increase of adding another Shanghai and Suzhou to the country. Surely not an inconsequential deal, but a drop of soju in the baijiu bucket, so to speak.
But China, think of the rewards — if the DPRK fell and North Korea re-joined the south, you would suddenly have a huge population who couldn’t afford Samsungs and would have to by cheap Changhong flatscreens. Plus it would open up the North to all sorts of development opportunities. But financial benefits aside, you’d look frigin’ awesome on the world stage China. Forget “One World, One Dream” and “Better City, Better Life” — we’re talking roles in international spy movies that don’t have you as the bad guy! You can’t buy that sort of PR!
I mean, at some point you need to get a little Janet in ya and ask yourself, “Kim, what have you done for me lately?” Ideologically, you guys couldn’t be more different. Modern China hasn’t had a cult of anyone in ages, and modern North Korea has never not had one. Your people have Playstations, Kim’s people don’t even have power stations. Beijing’s biggest headache is what Web sites to block, North Koreans aren’t even aware there is an Internet.
But look at who is on the other side of that — South Korea, a friend and major trading partner, an investor in your rise out of poverty, and an all-around decent bunch of folks. How many development zones has the DPRK kept running? And, of course, there’s the US. I hate to break it to ya, but some — not all — Americans just don’t understand China. They see you as a slightly-less Evil Empire™. I mean, if China was in a Bond movie, what character do you think China would be? Exactly.
However, if you do the right thing here and stop backing the Nightmare Nation at your border, you can go a long way to swaying that opinion. Sure, sure… who cares what a bunch of Yankees think, right? Well… the rest of us do. I mean, we don’t sit around and hang off of every word, but US media permeates and saturates more cultures than any other — probably more than every other combined. So you get a bit of a two-fer by getting them on your side… you get them, and most the rest of us.
Really, the only group that might have a negative reaction to you not supporting the DPRK is the DPRK… and even then it’s just a few people at the top — everyone else is too busy looking for weeds to eat. The whole country might be armed, but I doubt any of their rifles have leather straps.
So what the hell, lets say we give it a try. You’ve got this awesome amount of power and influence, why not use it to do a bit of good? Koreans on both sides of the 38th will thank you.