Contending with Asia’s hoodlums
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times  2017.3.11

Backed by China, North Korea’s Kim dynasty has long posed a military threat

to South Korea. With help from the US, Seoul is deploying a Terminal High

Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, but China has retaliated by

restricting imports of South Korean products.

Beijing has also punished the South’s Lotte Group for providing a site for the

system, shutting down 55 Lotte Mart outlets. Chinese protesters holding Mao

Zedong (毛澤東) posters threatened to vandalize Lotte outlets, while calling for

a boycott of all South Korean goods.

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un launched missiles two days in a

row to show its support for Beijing.

China sent troops to help the Kim dynasty abuse Koreans more than 60 years

ago. After World War II, it continued to support the North, which poses a

security threat to the South. Following democratization, the Seoul government

has tried to curry favor with China, hoping that Beijing could control the Kims.

Even so, China is trying to deprive South Korea of the right to defend itself,

highlighting China’s “hoodlum” nature.

Faced with the threats of a “big” (China) and a “small” (North Korea)

hoodlum, South Korea’s ruling and opposition camps, businesses and the

media are united against the enemies, despite political chaos in the nation. The

South Korean backbone is in sharp contrast to the “high-class Mainlanders”

in Taiwan who were expelled by the Chinese in 1949.

Speaking of hoodlums, the Kim family outdoes China. While Kim openly acts

like a hoodlum and fears no one, China acts like a hoodlum while pretending to

be a gentleman, proposing “a new model for relations” with the US and

demanding that the world recognize it as a full-fledged market economy.

It is clear that it was the Chinese government that stirred up the sentiment against

the Lotte Mart outlets, but the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman

on Monday said that China welcomes all foreign companies, including from

South Korea, to invest there.

On the eve of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress in 2012,

at which Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took over the presidency,

Beijing stirred up anti-Japanese sentiment. Now, it is repeating the trick against

Seoul on the eve of the 19th National Congress, which is to take place later this

year.

Taiwan might be the next target.

As Taiwan is the free world’s frontline against the invasive expansion of the

hoodlum China, the US and other Western nations should offer all assistance

they possibly can, just as they did when they sent UN forces in the Korean War.

The six-party talks that began in 2003 are a fraud created by China. They have

yielded no results, while China and North Korea have grown militarily. Since

then, Pyongyang has developed nuclear capability and test-launched long-range

missiles.

China has always opposed UN sanctions as a way of dealing with the North’s

provocations. Although the UN Security Council approved sanctions against

Pyongyang last year, Beijing has taken to action. It was not until it came under

pressure after Kim’s half-brother was assassinated that it said it was

suspending coal imports from North Korea.

However, China has an overcapacity of coal, so this sanction is based purely on

self-interests. What Beijing should do is to immediately stop supplying crude oil

to North Korea to paralyze its military actions.

It is not enough for the US to simply flex its military muscle when dealing with a

hoodlum like China. Perhaps the only solution is for Washington to give Beijing

a lesson. The best argument for that is the fact that since the end of the Korean

War, East Asia was at peace until the “rise” of China.

Paul Lin is a political commentator.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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