Skip to comments.Chinese Fears of North Korean Nukes
Posted on 10/07/2006 5:55:25 PM PDT by Thud
THE North Korean refugee had one request for her captors before the young Chinese soldiers led her back across the steel-girdered bridge on the Yalu River that divides two socialist allies.
She asked for a comb and some water because she said that if she was going to die she could not face going to heaven looking as dirty and dishevelled as this, recounted a relative of one soldier who was there.
What happened next is testimony to the rising disgust in Chinese military ranks as Beijing posts more troops to the border amid a crisis with North Korea over its regimes plan to stage a nuclear test.
The soldiers, who later told family members of the incident, marched the woman, who was about 30, to the mid-point of the bridge. North Korean guards were waiting. They signed papers for receipt of the woman, who kept her dignity until that moment. Then, in front of the Chinese troops, one seized her and another speared her hand the soft part between thumb and forefinger with the point of a sharpened steel cable, which he twisted into a leash.
She screamed just like a pig when we kill it at home in the village, the soldier later told his relative. Then they dragged her away.
Such stories are circulating widely among Chinese on the border, where wild rumours of an American attack on nuclear test sites have spread fears of a Chernobyl-type cloud of radiation and sparked indignation at the North Koreans. Ive heard it a hundred times over that when we send back a group they stab each one with steel cable, loop it under the collarbone and out again, and yoke them together like animals, said an army veteran with relatives in service.
As international tensions over North Korea have soared, China has deployed extra combat units of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to man the border from the Yalu River in the south to the Tumen River near Russia - evidently fearing the risk of chaos and collapse.
The troop trains were rolling even on the Chinese mid-autumn festival on Friday. Civilian traffic on a main line was halted to allow one train to pass, with carriages jammed with glum soldiers in camouflage uniforms and flat cars carrying olive-green military vehicles.
And while a few off-duty men strolled with their sweethearts under the full moon along the banks of the Yalu, others watched from outposts at the silent, darkened shores of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
All visits by Chinese have recently been stopped, said a local official. They gave us no reason for it.
The bomb test could come as early as today, the eighth anniversary of Kim Jong-ils ascent to the top of the North Korean Workers party and one day before South Koreas foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon, seeks election as secretary-general of the United Nations.
Last Friday, North Koreas traditional allies, Russia and China, joined in a UN security council warning that a weapons test - likely to be in a disused mine 6,000ft underground in Shijung district near the Chinese border -would attract universal condemnation. It has put the Chinese under maximum pressure to restrain Kim. Japans new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is due in Beijing today to urge on the effort and the leader of South Korea is coming to make the same plea on Monday.
Chinas dilemma is that its ruling elites are still bound to those of North Korea by a like-minded political authoritarianism. President Hu Jintao has even praised North Korea for keeping to its Stalinist politics, a view he may be repenting now that Kim has brought China to the brink of a nuclear crisis.
Beijings main fear is that if Kim tests a bomb - the CIA believes he has enough plutonium for four; other US experts think more - then Japan will feel it has no choice but to acquire its own atomic arsenal. That would destroy the balance of power in northeast Asia that has kept the peace since the end of the second world war.
Chinas secondary fear is that if Kims regime collapses, hundreds of thousands of desperate, hungry North Koreans, some armed, will flood across its border to sow unrest and instability.
The Chinese regularly round up small groups of escapees. But uncounted thousands have slipped into the towns and villages inhabited by ethnic Koreans in the border provinces, building gleaming new towers and labouring in fields of fat corn.
Chinas prosperity lures the poverty-stricken but has failed to convince North Koreas leaders to deviate from their course of rigid state control.
Why are they poor? asked a local official, who was drinking heavily in a bar at festival time. Because that gangster Kim Jong-il spends all the money on nuclear weapons! Several Chinese soldiers have died in clashes with rogue North Korean soldiers who have crossed the border, shot up buildings and, in one case, robbed a bank with their AK-47s.
A PLA platoon leader was killed last year while catching five North Koreans who had attacked a hotel, robbed guests and kidnapped the manager, according to state media. Shots were fired yesterday as five North Korean troops crossed into the southern side of the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries.
The Chinese authorities are also irate over an influx of counterfeit US dollar bills and vast quantities of fake Viagra from North Korea. Some 50,000 Chinese gamblers a year are estimated to cross the other way to squander their money, much of it suspected to be the fruits of official corruption, in a North Korean casino.
The sense that Kims regime is losing control lies behind the Chinese military buildup. But some South Korean MPs fear China could grab territory from the north in the event of a collapse.
Japan could have nuclear weapons within a few weeks of a go decision, and Taiwan within a few months. I expect both will do so. Then China's fantasies about conquering/absorbing Taiwan will be gone.
So I suspect a deal may have been made between the Bush administration and China concerning North Korea, one which entails a swift end to North Korea's gangster confederacy.
The Chinese should have thought of this a long time ago.
They thought the crocodile would eat them last.
Surprise, Surprise woudn't it be hillarious if the Communist North Koreans lobbed one of their baby nukes into the center of Beijing say Tinnamen Square!
Darn straight! I second that notion.
The Chinese border with North Korea is tiny, yet they can't control it. Interesting.
Well, it's about 10:25 AM in Korea, what is considered a good time to set off a bomb?
I think they have. There have been several 'accidents' in close proximity to Kim Jong-Il that were probably assassination attempts. I figure that there are elements of the Chinese leadership that want his wigged head on a platter.
When a croc gets to snapping, anything's fair game - even the zookeeper.
They've probably set it off already.
The press is suspiciously quiet about NK right now. Even the traitors at the NY Times and Washington Post are silent.
I'm still annoyed with our supposed destruction of Taiwan's nuke program.
However, there is some hope in the land where Chinese puzzle boxes were commonplace . . . that lots of things are hidden . . . perhaps in Japan, too.
Am curious if you have special connections or sure info or just knowledgeable conjecture to base your predictions on?
Not. Russia's border with NK is tiny. China's border with NK is almost the entire length of the NK northern border.
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