China covertly offers North Korea missiles and increased aid

A document obtained by Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reveals some startling facts about China's aid to North Korea.

In order to prop up the regime of Kim Jong-un, the Chinese government has offered increased aid and missiles to North Korea as well as promising to apply U.N. sanctions "symbolically."  The purpose is to keep the Kim regime from collapsing, thus creating an intolerable refugee situation on China's border with North Korea.

The document, labeled "top secret" and dated Sept. 15 – 12 days after North Korea's latest underground nuclear blast – outlines China's plan for dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue.  It states [that] China will allow North Korea to keep its current arsenal of nuclear weapons, contrary to Beijing's public stance that it seeks a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

Chinese leaders also agreed to offer new assurances that the North Korean government will not be allowed to collapse, and that Beijing plans to apply sanctions "symbolically" to avoid punishing the regime of leader Kim Jong[-u]n under a recent U.N. resolution requiring a halt to oil and gas shipments into North Korea.

A copy of the four-page Chinese-language document was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon from a person who once had ties to the Chinese intelligence and security communities.  An English translation can be found here.

CIA spokesmen had no immediate comment on the document that could not be independently verified.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not return emails seeking comment.

Disclosure of the document comes amid reports [that] China is continuing to send oil to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions, prompting criticism from President Trump.  Trump tweeted last week that China was caught "red handed" allowing oil shipments to North Korea.

"There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korean problem if this continues to happen," the president stated on Dec. 28.

Release of the classified internal document is unusual since China's communist system imposes strict secrecy on all party policies.  Exposure of the secret Central Committee directive could indicate high-level opposition within the party to current supreme leader Xi Jinping, who has consolidated more power than any leader since Mao Zedong.

Care must be taken when considering the authenticity of this document. It is possible that it is part of a disinformation campaign by elements not in the Chinese government.  At the same time, it is plausible to expect China to do anything within its power to prevent the collapse of the Kim regime.  The prospect of hundreds of thousands of starving North Korean refugees flooding China if war breaks out with the U.S. is a driving force in Beijing's deliberations on what to do about North Korean nuclear weapons and its ballistic missile program.

The document also indicates that China has given up on the idea of international pressure forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear program:

China's leaders, according to the document, concluded that international pressure will not force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, estimated to be at least 20 warheads.

As a result, the Central Committee of the party directed its International Liaison Department, the organ in charge of communicating with foreign political parties, to inform Pyongyang of China's continued backing.

The head of the Liaison Department, Song Tao, visited Pyongyang Nov. 17 and met with senior North Korean officials.  North Korean state media did not provide details of the talks, other than to say issues of mutual concern were discussed.

China is North Korea's major trading partner, and while U.N. sanctions are supposed to severely limit business between the two countries, the document indicates the Chinese giving North Korea permission to evade the sanctions:

On the U.N. requirement to shut down oil and gas transfers from China to North Korea, the party document said after North Korean businesses in China will be closed under the terms of the latest U.N. resolution, "our country will not for the moment restrict Korea from entrusting qualified Chinese agencies from trade with Korea or conducting related trade activities via third countries (region)."

"Qualified Chinese" entities could include shipping companies who have been caught transferring oil to North Korean vessels.

There is much that rings true in this document.  Good disinformation usually does.  Still, the information in the document could already be known to US intelligence, with steps taken on the diplomatic front to address China's two-faced North Korean strategy.

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