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China and North Korea Coordinate
7 March 2000



With Taiwans elections less than two weeks away, China has not only strengthened its warnings against independence but increased diplomatic contacts with North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il recently paid an unusual visit to the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang. China appears to lack the political will to launch an aggressive military operation  and a crisis  like the one that took place in the Taiwan Strait in 1996. Yet, Beijing appears to be positioning itself to coordinate simultaneous challenges alongside North Korea, sending a powerful warning to the United States, with less risk of conflict.


Amid intensified Chinese rhetoric directed against Taiwan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il paid an uncharacteristic visit March 5 to the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang. Kims visit occurred on the same day that Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) Vice Chairman Zhang Wannian, in an advance of Taiwans March 18 elections, stated bluntly, Taiwan independence means war.

Kims embassy visit and the increased bellicosity in Beijing may not be as unrelated as they first appear. China is searching for a way to pressure Taiwan and send a message to the United States, without drawing substantial international repercussions. While a repeat of the 1996 missile tests in the Taiwan Strait would interfere with Chinas current international relations, a coordinated action, with North Korea in the Yellow Sea and China in the Taiwan Strait, can send an even more powerful message with less risk.

Beijing is looking for a way to influence Taiwans presidential elections and prevent Taipei from making further moves toward independence. In addition, China wants to make it clear to the United States that Taiwan remains a sovereign part of mainland China; any attempt to interfere with this, particularly by supplying Taiwan with arms, is unacceptable. But Beijing is politically and strategically unprepared to initiate a conflict at this time.

Not only is it in Chinas economic interest to maintain an open door to the United States and other Western nations. Beijing does not yet possess the military capability to defeat Taiwan in a war. Chinas actions during March will likely determine its accession to the World Trade Organization and increased U.S. defense cooperation with Taiwan. Any direct provocation would give Taiwan the added evidence needed to gain increased international and U.S. military support.

While an invasion of Taiwan  or even a repeat of the 1996 missile tests in the Taiwan Strait  is unlikely, Beijing still emphasizes its determination against a more independent Taiwan. But the government in Beijing is looking for ways that dont trigger an immediate crisis. Beijing has resorted to increased rhetoric, threatened timetables for reunification and talk of a Sino-Russian strategic alliance to establish a just and reasonable new world order.

Renewing the focus on North Korea, as signaled by Kims visit, presents a major opportunity for Beijing to increase the impact of the threat, while minimizing the risk.

The governments of China and North Korea have steadily warmed ties recently. During the tensions last summer over Taiwan President Lee Teng-Huis declaration of state-to-state relations with China, China and North Korea reaffirmed military ties and began preparation for a series of high-level exchanges, including a potential visit of Kim Jong Il to Beijing.

Some have speculated that Kims recent visit to the embassy is an attempt to make up for not having traveled to Beijing. But Pyongyangs official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated that Kims visit March 5 was on the occasion of the New Year 2000 at the request of the Chinese ambassador. It is likely that the visit had greater implications. For Kim, who rarely meets foreign guests, going to a foreign embassy is an unusual move. The visit emphasizes the heightened level of Chinese-North Korean relations. Rather than the Chinese ambassador going to Kim, he came to the embassy, clearly showing that China is calling the shots.

Stronger relations at this time between China and North Korea lay the groundwork for a potentially troubling situation for the United States. In addition to concern about the Taiwan Strait, the United States faces problems in the Yellow Sea. On March 3, North Korean Navy Command announced the nullification of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the maritime extension of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Koreas west coast. Following the declaration, South Koreas JoongAng Ilbo reported that North Korea was conducting high-speed attack training in the Yellow Sea under the guise of search and rescue training.

The North Korean action raises the possibility of repeating the June 1999 firefight with South Korean vessels in the same area that ended with the sinking of a North Korean ship. The confrontation raised tensions in the area and prompted the United States to send two Aegis-class cruisers and aerial reconnaissance to monitor the situation.

North Korea is once again pushing its maritime boundaries along Koreas west coast. The timing matches a series of upcoming North Korean political exchanges, including a planning session this week to prepare for a high level visit by a North Korean official to the United States. Prior to such meetings, North Korea often raises tensions in order to highlight a particular issue it wishes to be foremost on the table.

With Taiwans elections approaching, China is looking for a way to impress its resolve upon the United States over the status of the island. At the same time, Beijing is not prepared to jeopardize its international relations and trigger increased military aid to Taiwan. A North Korean provocation along the Korean peninsula, coupled with Chinese exercises in the Taiwan Strait, targets one of the United States greatest concerns  two simultaneous high-intensity conflicts.

While gaining maximum political impact, China reduces its risks in not having to hold live fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait  rather it may simply hold naval and air maneuvers. In this way, China does not directly threaten Taiwan and minimizes U.S. justification to respond. As well, given North Koreas own motives, China can distance itself from North Koreas actions. If Taiwan continues to lean toward independence, Beijing and Pyongyang may coordinate a simultaneous, yet low-risk, provocation in the Yellow Sea and the Taiwan.

) 2000 WNI, Inc. All rights reserved.

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), March 06, 2000


Hi guys,
Having a hard time finding where everyone is "hanging out", glad I found a link here.
What do you think of the Name? (Should I revert back to non-bold?) [I am leaning in this direction]

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), March 06, 2000.

Bold Off

-- (Like it better@without.bold), March 06, 2000.

Great material, great format, great post. Best of the best!

-- Ra (tion@l.1), March 06, 2000.

-- (Now?@now.now), March 06, 2000.

Possible Impact, you broke the forum! LOL

-- (No Help@in.site), March 06, 2000.

Thanks for the post, Possble. I like the format also. The bold name is kinda cool so I vote for it.

One of the interesting parts of the article is the idea that too much provocation on the part of China would lead to more US military aid to Taiwan. This is exactly what China doesn't want to see now so this may lead to an easing of tensions in the mid term.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 06, 2000.


-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

Possible Impact, Your signature is very nice and looks good on a post, but I'm afraid I can't start allowing this kind of thing because it also shows into the topic/top level page. If I let you do it, then I'd have to let everyone do it, and that's opening up a can of worms as to what is acceptable and what isn't.

Thanks for your understanding.

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

Also I just noticed that your thread won't show in "New Answer" level. Wondering if it's due to HTML in your name, or html embedded in your post, which is also screwing up the entire thread.

Can you or anyone else help me find out through "view source" so I can fix this?

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

now shows in "New Answer", but still problem with the separator line.

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

1..2..3 testing

Hmm..there's one alignment tag or something in there somewhere that wasn't closed.

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

Old TB2K forum regular(sysop),
I tried to send an e-mail to you, but it bounced back. I am looking at the source also, it tests fine on my system.(I preview with Textpad before I post. [the article anyways...])

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), March 07, 2000.

close "table define"

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), March 07, 2000.

My full email address is freespeech_y2k@yahoo.com

I have to modify it when posting on threads, otherwise my posts always end up at the top of the thread. If you forget what it is, look up in "About".

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

Added 2 [/td] and even tried [/span]. I give up. Bed time.

-- Old TB2K forum regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 07, 2000.

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