Taiwan publicized reports that China was pushing for its dream of reunification through many venues and in many nations. The fact that China works so diligently through aggressive diplomacy further indicates that the “military option” being less than preferable with North Korea carries some continuity with China’s policy concerning Taiwan. That’s not to say it is beyond Beijing to decide to strike Taiwan, only that it would demonstrate that China had exhausted other methods it preferred in its determination.
Military deescalation is not out of character with China. Chinese troops were friendly with the defense minister from India in her recent visit to the disputed area. Late August, China halted building the road that India objected to in a way that saved face for China, but also appeased India for the time. This doesn’t indicate any change of heart nor indicate that China is not relentless, but the Asian culture of “preferring smoothness” in disputes seems to be holding true with non-volatile land on which China hopes to fly its flag.
Trump’s resolve and openness, however, are a contrast to China’s. In his “only one thing will work” comment this week, the US president is not afraid to use a military option to bring peace to a region if that region is arming up and dangerous. If the US wins in a conflict with North Korea, the US flag would not fly as the authority on that soil.
China is preparing for a routine leadership review. Much of the top brass under Xi Jinping will rotate out, but he himself is not set to retire anytime soon. While there may be some changes in temperature, there will be no change in the speed or direction China has been taking.
Xi Jingping told his military the same thing China has been telling its people for decades: The world needs us, our military, our might, and our expansion, otherwise there can be no peace. This proves a static ethic. From this perspective, China wants the US to remain calm and not take action in North Korea.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s president wants the US to wait while he negotiates with the North for safety in the US. South Korean people want much the same thing Filipinos want: non-dependence. South Korea’s president, South Korea’s people, and China all want the US to “get out”. Interestingly, they share this sentiment with North Korea.
The world is full of political ideologies that claim half of one thing and do half of another. The best chance at victory is to simply stay home and do good work there. In that, the South Korean people stand the greatest chance of victory. Yet, the United States stands the greatest chance of taking action for two reasons: the US is being threatened more than any other and the US is willing to take action more than any other. If the US takes out the North, they can leave and the South Koreans will get what they want. But, things rarely happen as they should.
Only two things are foreseeable: conflict and Korean unification. All the rest is conjecture.
Korea drew attention this week. It almost seems disappointed that it hasn’t drawn fire. The North has not built up its military just to make beautiful propaganda videos. Unlike the West, “building the bomb so you never need to use it” eludes the reasoning of the old far east.
But, something else seems to have slipped past China’s and Korea’s strategy—the Britons. During English-Scottish-Irish wars, the Scottish burned their own corn fields in response to being invaded. While the English culture has sought to dominate the world—even by language if necessary—Scottish defence methods have made the the Western British-American force unbeatable, at least from a cultural perspective.
While Congress, Senator McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, in particular, voices growing concern about America’s readiness for off-shore battle, China and North Korea don’t show any concern, or even awareness, about how the West thinks. When spreading propaganda about an enemy who has never lost a home game, it’s better not to show him an imaginary home game where he loses. He just won’t believe it.
The deeper question is does China really believe that if America had a weakness that the press would be allowed to know about it? McCain is the loud voice on the matter. Perhaps he understands something that China and Korea can’t.