South/North Korean incident.

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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Fivelives » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:22 am

Don't you mean from the Washington Post article? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01133.html

I saw that already.

Dorvan wrote:I guarantee that neither the US nor China will have direct military involvement unless they know exactly how the other will respond, and that neither will get involved if the response is direct military conflict between troops of the two nations. I'm perfectly willing to put my money where my mouth is on that analysis as well...direct conflict between US and Chinese troops as a result of event on the Korean peninsula simply isn't going to happen.


Moving our carrier group into hostile position is already direct military involvement. And, I can guarantee that we haven't gotten a response from China on what they're going to do yet. Our administration doesn't exactly have the policy-makers in China on speed dial, after all.

Kelaan wrote:If China allied itself with NK, they can't stop supporting without breaking the treaty. Why not break the treaty? Couched in the persoective of "Hey those guys are way crazier than we thought" or whatnot, what's the harm? What's the risk? Would NK try to nuke China? Would the rest of the world consider China a pariah, politically? I mean, the reliance on treaty relationships is a big part of how Europe got split in WWI, wasn't it?


Breaking a treaty is Srs Bznss. International politics are all based on reputation and trust. If China breaks one treaty, who's to say they won't break another one? They've been working so hard on giving the image of a trustworthy ally and trading partner that I would hesitate to say that they'd be willing to just go breaking a treaty on a whim. China has already put their relationship with NK ahead of their interests in the UN before (the 2006 nuclear testing in Pyongyang), by continuing to support NK despite the sanctions applied to NK by the UN.

There is a way that we can keep china from becoming involved in any korean conflict, assuming that china doesn't want to be involved. It's not likely, but if all of the fighting were to be in South Korea, with none of it spreading across the border to NK, then China can refuse to aid NK on the basis that "they aren't being attacked, so there's no need for us (china) to get involved."

It would be in agreement with the letter of the treaty, while still violating the spirit of the treaty. Then, just like the US can claim to have "never lost a war" by changing the Vietnam War and Korean War to the Vietnam Conflict and Korean Conflict, the Chinese can claim to have "never broken a treaty".

I also have to ask, Dorvan - have you ever been to China (outside Shanghai, Beijing, or Hong Kong), or know any Chinese natives? I'm not just assuming to know how the Chinese are going to think because of my connection with them through the mysterious aether by which I can read their minds.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:29 am

Fivelives wrote:Moving our carrier group into hostile position is already direct military involvement. And, I can guarantee that we haven't gotten a response from China on what they're going to do yet. Our administration doesn't exactly have the policy-makers in China on speed dial, after all.

Nah, it's just posturing.

Fivelives wrote:Breaking a treaty is Srs Bznss. International politics are all based on reputation and trust. If China breaks one treaty, who's to say they won't break another one? They've been working so hard on giving the image of a trustworthy ally and trading partner that I would hesitate to say that they'd be willing to just go breaking a treaty on a whim. China has already put their relationship with NK ahead of their interests in the UN before (the 2006 nuclear testing in Pyongyang), by continuing to support NK despite the sanctions applied to NK by the UN.
Again, as Dorvan suggested, if China broke the treaty by not helping NK when NK is picking a fight with their neighbor, it would only help China's trustworthiness.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Fivelives » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:33 am

It wouldn't be a black eye on China, I'll agree. But it would be a gray one, at the least. Breaking a treaty with an insane dictator is still breaking a treaty, when it could've been renegotiated. China has multiple tools to use to force NK to the negotiation table regarding both their treaty and the current situation (namely the fact that NK is basically dependent on China for food and energy). They didn't renegotiate their treaty in 2006, or 1992, so what would make them do it now? Third time's the charm? I doubt it.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Korola » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:43 am

Fivelives wrote:Moving our carrier group into hostile position is already direct military involvement.


So are the 29,000 troops already stationed in South Korea.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Dorvan » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:49 am

Fivelives wrote:Moving our carrier group into hostile position is already direct military involvement. And, I can guarantee that we haven't gotten a response from China on what they're going to do yet. Our administration doesn't exactly have the policy-makers in China on speed dial, after all.


By direct military involvement I mean combat operations (aka fighting). We are not going to see US and Chinese forces open fire on each other....no question about it.

Fivelives wrote:Breaking a treaty is Srs Bznss. International politics are all based on reputation and trust. If China breaks one treaty, who's to say they won't break another one? They've been working so hard on giving the image of a trustworthy ally and trading partner that I would hesitate to say that they'd be willing to just go breaking a treaty on a whim. China has already put their relationship with NK ahead of their interests in the UN before (the 2006 nuclear testing in Pyongyang), by continuing to support NK despite the sanctions applied to NK by the UN.


It should be pretty obvious that opposing sanctions against NK is very different from going to war against the US. As Fridmarr already pointed out, that treaty gives China plenty of room for interpretation, especially as the senior partner. I see nothing preventing China from deciding that the destruction of targets in North Korea being used to support an offensive against South Korea does not count as an act of aggression on the part of the South/US.

Fivelives wrote:I also have to ask, Dorvan - have you ever been to China (outside Shanghai, Beijing, or Hong Kong), or know any Chinese natives? I'm not just assuming to know how the Chinese are going to think because of my connection with them through the mysterious aether by which I can read their minds.


You don't need to read their minds, you just have to understand their incentive structure they're looking at and a decent idea of the international politics of the situation. Unlike North Korea, China behaves quite rationally, they're no fools. China has a ton to lose by going to bat for a North Korea that invades South Korea, and virtually nothing to gain. You can bet that China will tell North Korea "if you invade, you're on your own"...I can't believe you're seriously suggesting that going to war with the US would be more in China's interest than telling North Korea they're on their own. Even *if* there was damage to their reputation (a notion that's pretty absurd), it would be inconsequential compared to the damage from a US-China military conflict.
Last edited by Dorvan on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Dorvan » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:49 am

Fivelives wrote:And, I can guarantee that we haven't gotten a response from China on what they're going to do yet. Our administration doesn't exactly have the policy-makers in China on speed dial, after all.


The US and China have good diplomatic ties. Between the US and China, neither side wants surprises in this situation, I don't think there's any incentive for misdirection here. I have no doubt that US and Chinese diplomats are communicating about the situation.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Koatanga » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:07 pm

Correct me if I am wrong, but China's treaty with NK is valid when NK suffers an unprovoked attack. If NK is the one doing the attacking, China can stay out of it without losing any face. Any retaliation from SK on NK would be a provoked attack, not an unprovoked one.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Korola » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:15 pm

Koatanga wrote:Correct me if I am wrong, but China's treaty with NK is valid when NK suffers an unprovoked attack. If NK is the one doing the attacking, China can stay out of it without losing any face. Any retaliation from SK on NK would be a provoked attack, not an unprovoked one.


It all ends up being left to how China wants to interpret it. If it proves to be a beneficial interpretation from our standpoint, then we will dance to the tune that they play. The United States has no interest in making sure that China upholds a treaty that we don't like in the first place.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Fivelives » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:34 pm

China didn't oppose the sanctions. They voted in favor of the sanctions, but then didn't enforce them. They also had the opportunity to veto the sanctions before it even came to a vote and didn't. It wasn't until after the resolution passed that they came out and said "No, sanctions are wrong" and did their own thing.

The US and China have diplomatic ties, but diplomats do not make policy decisions. It would be like letting a checkout clerk at walmart dictate where they open their next store and what they stock it with. The US moved a carrier group into position to attack NK without getting any information from China. Contrary to popular belief, government does not move at the speed of light - especially in the Chinese bureaucracy.

The 29,000 troops we have stationed in South Korea are in South Korea. Since signing the ceasefire, no US troop (or south korean troop) has ever set foot across the demilitarized zone.

If the Chinese send troops to support NK, and the US send troops to support SK, how can you "guarantee" that none of them will come into contact with each other, Dorvan? That's a rather silly assumption to make.

The treaty doesn't give China "plenty of room for interpretation." The clause regarding military support is actually very clear on that aspect. If North Korea is invaded by a hostile force, or combination of hostile forces, China must respond with "military and other assistance by all available means at its disposal."

You say that China acts rationally. Was taking over Tibet rational? Was tianenman square rational? Is Mongolia rational? How about hijacking internet traffic, and trying to force Google to release private information? China acts on the belief that they are invincible, and they have the track record to prove it. The only "wars" that the US hasn't won are, coincidentally enough, Vietnam and Korea - where China invested heavily in backing our opponents.

China has long made policy decisions in the belief in "one superpower and four large powers", where the US is the one superpower and China is one of the "large powers". Now that the US is quickly losing its status as a "superpower", China is in a situation to finally step up and say "ok, it's our turn now". It still remains to be seen whether they'll take this opportunity or not. I believe they will, and my chinese friends believe it's a strong possibility as well.

Koatanga, the relevant article of the treaty says "In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal." Barring translation errors, it's pretty clear on it not being determined by whether or not it's provoked or unprovoked.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Korola » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:46 pm

Article I

The Contracting Parties will continue to make every effort to safeguard the peace of Asia and the world and the security of all peoples.


Here is your loophole.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Fivelives » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:48 pm

I pointed that out earlier, Korola.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Korola » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:54 pm

Fivelives wrote:I pointed that out earlier, Korola.


You make it sound as though there is no room for interpretation. The way it is written in its entirety - there is plenty of room for interpretation. China is by no means "bound" to the treaty because of the events that have transpired so far.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Dantriges » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:26 pm

Fivelives wrote:It doesn't matter if it's politically expedient or not. We have a mutual defense treaty with our occupied "allies" in south korea, we can't not defend them. Same as China with north korea.

Article II of the Chinese/NK treaty wrote:The Contracting Parties undertake jointly to adopt all measures to prevent aggression against either of the Contracting Parties by any state. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.
(emphasis mine)


China could interpret as NK being the aggressor. They sunk a warship and fired shells on SK territory. NK broke the contract already, because they didn´t adopt all measures to prevent aggression against one of the contracting partes themselves. And I think they can safely break the treaty. Provoking other countries into attacking them isn´t probably covered by the treaty anyways and the whole situation more or less changed since China and NK signed it.

I think the most probable way for China is tell someone high up in NK that there is no way tha China would back up NK in an armed conflict they initiated and that Korea should deal with the problem, the crazy dictator soon or China will deal with it. Then wait until someone figures out that dying dictator=win for everyone else, kill him and do the usual succession thing or fight over it, perhaps with some backing from the chinese. No one wants a war, probably not even the majority of NK higher ups. Most of this shelling is improving the bargaining chips to get as many foreign gifts as they can to bribe the elite in the coming succession or feeding their people. It is more or less extortion with artillery.

Most of the things China wants today they can solve via economic means, money or diplomacy, not a war, epspecially not a war, their crazy neighbour started. And they are probably pretty pissed that there is a carrier group now in their backyard but they know that the US wouldn´t attack. US doesn´t have the resources to attack China or any incentive to attack their big trading partner. The world changed since the Cold War. Money makes the world go round and whatever bigger country you attack, your own economy will suffer from it. The more the world is linke via trade, the less likely is a bigger war, unless resources are really getting scarce. No one finds it funny to starve or die from lack of water, sit in the dark with no electricity and so on.

Perhaps China will let the situation escalate a bit more and go to the bargaining table to ask for concessions to eign in NK. Perhaps a reduction ok US troops in SK, a no nuke zne in Sk, some concessions in the Taiwan affair, like pressuring Taiwan to drop any idea of actually declaring their independence and so on.

This whole affair is just a big poker event with human lives at stake and military hardware as bargaining chips.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby Torquemada » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:44 pm

Holy crap. Sorry I'm late to the conversation, but I've working a bit more than normal since this shit went down.

China has no real interest in a war between the Koreas, first because South Korea is now an even bigger trading partner with them than the North. Second, China has no interest in millions of displaced North Korean refuges flooding their borders 2-3 weeks after the war breaks out and the ROK beats the snot out of the DPRK.

For anyone interested in a comical albeit sometimes saddening depiction of the state North Korea is at right now, check out this wonderful documentary made by Americans who snuck into NK through the China side: http://www.vbs.tv/watch/the-vice-guide-to-travel/vice-guide-to-north-korea-1-of-3

Honestly, the current problems revolve around the fact that 1) North Korea doesn't like drills taking place so close to the NLL(The sea-based equivalent of the DMZ out west) and are trying to make a power play around that section, and 2) North Korea hasn't had any attention and tries these little shows of force to try to force concessions and more aid from the South and the US, which it then can claim to its own people is tribute paid to their greatness.

President Lee of South Korea also seems to be hesitant to strike back fully, just as he was during the Choenan incident, in large part because of the devastating effect it will have on the booming South Korean economy as well as his own popularity. Too many folks here view reunification as inevitable, and going to war would definitely throw a wrench in that. At the same time, a lot of the younger generation I run into doesn't ever think there will be unification, so it's all a crap shoot at this point.
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Re: South/North Korean incident.

Postby masterpoobaa » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:44 pm

I read somewhere that the recent activity of North Korea is largely of internal nature.
With the current illustrious leader sick/dying, and his son recently given the nod to take over the reigns, the son has to prove to the populace and to the powerful generals that he has the balls to be "Mr tough guy" on the international stage.

Cue the random acts of international violence and stupidity.

I can see things calming down once he is solidly in power and his dad dead n buried.
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