There have been many intelligence assessments from various agencies and private think-tanks on the relationship between China and North Korea. I carefully use the word relationship because “partnership” implies a mutual agreement by both countries where there is mutual benefit. After years of careful review, the specific nature of “why” the relationship exists is actually quite simplistic. The “what” and the “how” of the relationship is an in-depth assessment, however the “why”, which has been debated, in actuality requires little debate.
Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy recently stated in a conference on Israel-China relations: I have never understood that given the obvious super-importance of China in the eyes of the North Koreans. Given the fact that North Korea depends on China, that China fought a war for North Korea; How come China steps back? This is a perfectly succinct way to ask the question and provide an answer.
The answer requires a quick understand of two key factors:
- China’s approach to political science
- The future of nuclear weapons usage
China Policy: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, knew full well that China is a true expert of long term planning. China has a rich history which is valued and respected. Israel can understand this type of planning based on a metaphor which I heard in a 2017 lecture by Rabbi Jonathan Bienenfeld on the perceptions of the historical value of wisdom by Israeli culture which can be applied to Chinese culture. In American culture, the new superseded the old. Old phone models are replaced by the new and improved, new values are replaced by old traditions and the elderly are treated as the previous and discarded model, they are obsolete and archaic. In Jewish culture, they stand on the shoulders of those who came before. They are the foundation of wisdom and understanding for us to build upon. Without that foundation we would crumble.
The Chinese have a proverb
Literally: An old horse knows the way
Old people are experienced and it is worthwhile to consult them
China unlike many western countries are less concerned with immediate legacy implications of their leaders and are intricately involved in long term planning which will successfully implement and cement their objectives regardless who is in power at the time of completion.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a current day example of this type of planning philosophy. It is filled with positive and negative issues relating to the execution of the project. However, as westerner’s, we are used to seeing success measured in short increments and any deviation to that success is considered a failure of the whole. By implementing inevitable failure into a plan, the plan is more apt to succeed.
The Nuclear Option: The next 10 years will see a nuclear weapon used against a civilian population. Moore’s Law relating to computing Pn = Po x 2^n, is a well regarding law which predicts the increase in computing power. Moore’s law can be ported (with slight deviations) to the advancement of technology for nuclear power and when applied to military strategic armament, to nuclear weapons. (This is a very simple explanation for a complex formula, which is referenced in this article and not to be construed as a full scope definition.)
Conclusion: China maintains their own nuclear capability. However, China is in a phase of long-term economic dominance as their primary phase in political affairs. China correctly realizes that having two long term planning initiatives will only subvert the objectives of both. China is looking at “energy” as the platform for the future. If China can control the “Road to Energy” ©, depending on the status of the U.S. They will be the dominant global nation.
North Korea is China’s nuclear arm for first or retaliatory strike. While this may seem naïve, it is nevertheless true. China unlike the U.S., North Korea, or other countries, does not need the prestige of being the second country to launch a nuclear strike. China’s plan is energy and understanding their philosophy, they will keep to that plan as primary with nuclear dominance, when it occurs, as secondary.
While Israel may have difficulty understanding the relationship between China and North Korea; Israel has the best cultural knowledge to understand the nature of the relationship because of the similarities between China and Israel. China and Israel will become energy and technology trading partners as the next decade advances. However, China will maintain their nuclear dominance through their arm of North Korea. In many ways, the world will see China protecting Israel the way the U.S. does now. However, I am now at 800 words.