Have the Chicoms finally had it with the Norks?
Some of the strongest headlines I've ever seen on the situation in North Korea appeared in the Hong Kong press overnight. From the South China Morning Post:
For the Chinese to suddenly talk publicly about the North Korea's imminent demise and the importance of enforcing UN sanctions against what had been a close ally until now suggests something fairly unfriendly going on.
It follows from several days of back and forth that could have been read more than one way, but taken together with these latest headlines, suggest an angry Beijing out to thrash its hideous little neighbor. The gloves are off.
Four days ago, China cut off North Korea's access to its markets to sell coal for the year, yanking about a billion dollars in an expected hard currency inflow to the Hermit state, according to this CNN chart. The move was in response to North Korea's Feb. 12 illegal launch of a medium-range ballistic missile.
North Korea for its part took to publicly ridiculing China, two days ago calling it a U.S. puppet, 'dancing to the U.S.' tune.'
The highest-ranking North Korean defector ever, featured on last Sunday's 60 Minutes, said the North remained as murderous and dangerous as ever, and could blow any time.
Last night, South Korea announced that North Korea had a 5,000-tonne (metric ton) stockpile of chemical weapons, following revelations that North Korea's broad-daylight assassination of one of Kim Jong-uns relatives in Malaysia was the work of North Korean agents using illegal VX nerve gas, an announcement sure to raise global opprobrium on the brutal communist hellhole.
It's escalating fast. The New York Times, quite possibly correctly, sees the hand of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in these events, persuading China to pressure North Korea over its increasingly aggressive and illegal nuclear program, in a policy the U.S. has been trying to enact for years. If so, it means a coordinated effort is going on with South Korea and China is finally taking U.S. concerns seriously, or more to the point, no longer wants to use North Korea to harass the U.S. and its north Asian allies in South Korea and Japan.
Why is China suddenly turning on its revolting little ally? It may be that China is feeling U.S. pressure in the South China Sea from the U.S. Navy and the promised military buildup, undercutting the Chinese effort to establish hegemony there, and they want the U.S. and its South China Sea allies off their backs. Already Indonesia and Australia are getting involved. There is also the U.S. threat of sanctions over trade issues, which could cut off China's access to cash.
If so, it would be a masterful play by the Trump administration. to let what happens, happen to North Korea. Winds of war? They're blowing hard in those parts now. China's actions suggest that the Norks finally have a whipping coming. It would be a welcome thing if China ended its games-playing, even if it helped itself to North Korea's mineral resources, and just got rid of this odious little menace.