Monday, December 19, 2011

Breaking News: North Korean Kim Jong-il Dead

This may be the first real foreign policy test of the Obama Administration.

As I've already stated in a previous post, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the DPRK has been a proxy state of the People's Republic of China.

With the announced death of Kim Jong-il, it remains to be seen how Beijing will respond to any unforeseen internal power struggle within North Korea itself.

Despite the best efforts of Beijing's leaders, it's still possible the death of Kim Jong-il could eventually lead to a crisis similar to what the Chinese themselves experienced following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 (see Gang of Four). Historically, the transition of power within a Communist country, after the death of a cult of personality type leader, is not uncharted territory. The question remains whether a Stalin or a Gorbachev is waiting in the wings to eventually seize the reigns of power in Pyongyang.

With or without Kim Jong-il, the CCP's economic and military approach to the DPRK will remain the same. For both China and North Korea, the shared political goal for both regimes can best be described with three simple words: Stability. Stability. Stability.

Despite its policy to maintain political stability on the Korean Peninsula, if the DPRK ever attacks South Korea, the CCP and the PLA will bear full responsibility for planting the political seeds of an unnecessary war. Being an economic superpower and acting like a world leader is not the same thing.

"As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension and man began to lose control of it."
~ Václav Havel

For this blogger, it's interesting how the weekend passing of a man like Václav Havel contrasts with the death of the DPRK's "Dear Leader".

DPRK Update: (01/04/12)
The Washington Post
Amid N. Korea succession, China makes push for stability

North Korean Performers
Wangjing, Chaoyang District, Beijing
June 2008