Korean borders vital to China's own security

By Li Xiguang
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, November 30, 2010
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Last week, as soon as I heard the clouds of war were once again threatening the Korean Peninsula, I walked into the Western Hills of Beijing, where I lit incense and prayed in front of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, originally a Korean monk who came to China, in the peaceful temple that bears his name.

I prayed not only for the people of both Koreas. I also prayed for a long-lasting peaceful environment for the Chinese people, and particularly for the people living in the three provinces near North Korea.

The current dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula results from a crusade mentality held by people in both the North and the South, who have for decades strongly regarded each other as un-Korean blasphemers.

Over one hundred years ago, the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) broke out near Weihai in the Yellow Sea, where Chinese naval forces were defeated. Pyongyang was occupied by the Japanese army. At the end of the war, China ceded Taiwan, Penghu Islands and part of Liaoning to Japan and allowed Korea to be colonized by Japan.

Any war in Korea would eventually drag China in. With China's geopolitical strategy and national security in mind, we know the North Korean issue is crucial to the safety and peace of China's border.

The Chinese government must have courage and wisdom to tackle the Korean issue. China should maximize the peace and security interest for its northeastern provinces and make the issue the cornerstone of China's Korean policies.

If North Korea goes to war, millions of Korean refugees might flee north into China. China would be forced to use police and military to contain them, which could lead to international condemnation.

In their speeches, the leaders of South Korea and the US have all anticipated that the northern regime might collapse shortly after a war broke out.

The US and South Korea army would take over the defense of the North, from Pyongyang to the Yalu River, with American soldiers patrolling the 1,300-kilometer border between China and North Korea, currently undefended.

China should deal with North Korean issue in the way it deals with its other neighbors like Pakistan and Nepal. No matter what kind of political system these countries adopt and who is in power, these countries will always be the most important countries of China's core national interests.

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