Mark Twain once noted, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.” It’s a lesson China is learning about its bellicose neighbor North Korea right now, a nation it has helped avoid mass starvation for years, and which is now threatening its much larger neighbor with nuclear destruction.
Having been North Korea’s protector on the international stage for generations, China has recently looked increasingly reluctant to defend the excesses of the Kim family dynasty – particularly with regard to its continued expansion of a nuclear weapons program that has resulted in international sanctions.
Beijing went along with United Nations sanctions related to the North Korean nuclear program earlier this year, and according to documents obtained by the website Daily NK, a Seoul-based organization dedicated to supplying information about the secretive North Korean regime, there has been serious backlash from North Korean leaders in Pyongyang.
The site, which has broken many stories about North Korea in the past, released a copy of what it described as a missive sent by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea to its local affiliates on March 10.
China’s decision to participate in the UN’s sanctions regime, it said, is a sign that its much larger neighbor is “worried that its dominant status in Northeast Asia will be challenged.”
To be clear, while things aren’t going terribly well in China right now, Beijing’s military superiority over North Korea is not seriously questioned by anyone.
Not that that is stopping the North Korean government, which, the document noted, benefits from “the superior leadership of our revered supreme commander Marshal Kim Jong Un.”
The document demands that, “all Party members and workers … firmly stand up against China’s hostile schemes,” and says, “not once has China been sincere towards us when our revolutionary efforts ran into challenges and struggles.”
Beijing might justly gripe about that accusation, but it will definitely not be happy with another statement reportedly coming from the party that “All Party members and workers must join in soundly crushing China’s pressuring schemes with the force of a nuclear storm for its betrayal of socialism.”