Foreign Affairs

China Bears Ultimate Responsibility for North Korea’s Nukes

If the North Korean “missiles of July” were an intelligence operation by the People’s Republic of China, then the issue of North Korean nuclear weapons can be addressed by holding China ultimately responsible.

The “Dear Leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, may or may not be as unbalanced as he appears, but he does play that act very effectively on the world stage.

On Monday I wrote that the North Korea’s missile test was an intelligence windfall for Red China. My thesis was that China’s People’s Liberation Army used the Dear Leader’s apparent unstable image — and his launch of missiles on the Fourth of July, to trigger U.S. military and diplomatic action. The U.S. and allied response was to execute a game plan designed to identify the launch, and then track and kill the missile. It was a very commendable effort, and that may be a problem.

On July 12, an Associated Press story, “Agency Hacking Said to Originate in Asia,” revealed: “…the hackers appeared to hit computers especially hard at headquarters and inside the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which coordinates diplomacy in countries including China, the Koreas and Japan. The break-ins were recognized in mid-June.”

Thus, the evidence is now accumulating that the Dear Leader’s missile firings were a People’s Liberation Army intelligence-gathering operation. Assessing what intelligence China may have gained is important because tactical and strategic adjustments will have to be made. The good news is the U.S. military is the best in the world in creative flexibility once put in motion.

The short-term intelligence gathered by the People’s Liberation Army has very long-term and potentially drastic consequences for China. If the People’s Liberation Army can manipulate world events through the seemingly “unstable” actions of Kim Jong Il’s missiles, then China is ultimately responsible for his nukes.

Once China is tagged as being responsible for the actions of the Dear Leader — with respect to Kim Jong Il’s threats to use or sell atomic weapons — the People’s Liberation Army has every incentive to keep him in his box.

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