North Korea troops look toward South Korea at the border village

of Panmunjom. Concern is growing that the battle for sovereignty

over islands in the East and South China Sea, which pits a China-

led bloc of states against a U.S.-led bloc, could draw the two

Koreas into a new clash and delay unification.



The Hankyoreh, South Korea

Worrying Talk of Renewed North Korea-China Military Alliance


"The political situation is rapidly developing into a confrontation pitting a southern bloc led by the United States against a northern bloc led by China. Increased South Korean participation in the southern bloc will lead Pyongyang and Beijing to band more tightly together."




July 11, 2011


South Korea - Hankyoreh - Original Article (English)

U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with General Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, before their meeting in Beijing, July 11. Concern about a 'new Cold War' between the two countries is rising, as a territorial dispute in the East and South China Sea heats up.


CHINA CENTRAL TV [STATE-RUN]: U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen in Beijing to discuss South China Sea dispute, July 12, 00:03:42RealVideo

The question of whether China will support North Korea militarily if war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula is once again becoming a topic of discussion. In the context of the signing of a friendship treaty to mark the 50th anniversary of ties between the two countries and after being dismissed as a notion of a bygone era, the question of automatic Chinese military intervention on North Koreas behalf has again emerged. This worrisome and regrettable development demonstrates just how troubling the political situation on and around the peninsula has become.


Article II of the 1961 Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty states, In the event one of the Contracting Parties is subjected to armed attack by any state or several states and thus is involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.


As the political situation changed after the Cold War and Seoul established diplomatic relations with Beijing, this provision was dismissed as nothing more than a dead letter. But with the recent rise in tensions between North Korea and South Korea, circumstances have changed. Last year, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry even stated outright that there were no plans to amend or abolish the provision.



This is not just a problem for North and South Korea. On Saturday in the waters off the northwest coast of Borneo, the United States, Japan, and Australia launched joint military exercises. This area is in the vicinity of the Spratly (Nansha) Islands, where China and nearby Southeast Asian nations are clashing over sovereignty. The United States either plans to hold or has held joint military exercises in the South and East China Seas with the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. At last months summit of foreign and defense ministers (2+2) between the United States and Japan, the two countries made plans to beef up their separate tripartite alliances with Australia, South Korea and India. This move was clearly aimed at China. Naturally, Beijing has objected, and the regional arms race is picking up steam.


In the broad scheme of things, inter-Korean tensions are a by-product and a driving force behind the upheaval in East Asia. The political situation is rapidly developing into a confrontation pitting a southern bloc led by the United States against a northern bloc led by China. Increased South Korean participation in the southern bloc will lead Pyongyang and Beijing to band more tightly together. In this context, we must examine the significance of the renewed debate about Chinas automatic military intervention on North Korea's behalf.



Competing territorial claims in the South China Sea: China sees

the United States meddling, whereas other nations in the region

regard the U.S. as playing a balancing role.


Huanqui, China: America Stirs Anti-China Fears in South China Sea
Mainichi Shimbun: China 'Mustn't Be Permitted' to Push Around its Neighbors
People's Daily, China: Clinton's 'Insults' Violate China's Human Rights
People's Daily, China: U.S. Internet Hypocrisy Creates Global Suspicion
Huanqui, China: U.S.-Listed Chinese Firms are Ruining China's Reputation
Huanqui, China: Blunt Talk Reflects Improved Sino-U.S. Military Relations


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The problem is that the confrontation is between blocs, which means that the strategic interests of the major powers take priority. This doesn't tally with the interests of the Korean people. It is exceedingly dangerous for North and South Korea to participate in this New Cold War as a strategic sub-segment of these powers. This will prolong a national division that has already dragged on for 60 years. Irrespective of our wishes, a worst case scenario could see the Korean Peninsula again turned into a battlefield. Rather than fighting, North and South Korea should summon the wisdom to prosper together. That is the only way for both to survive.


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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US July 12, 12:13pm]


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