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January 21, 2014

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KSR

As farfetched as a Chinese invasion is, would it really need South Korean signoff? What would preclude them from reaching some sort of Molotov-Ribbentrop accommodation where they divided the spoils once an invasion occurred? Would South Korea accept selling out parts of the North to re-take Pyongyang? Especially if both sides only had to salvage/industrialize half a country as opposed to a whole one?

Not that there's much chance of negotiations or invasion preparations going unnoticed but it could be fun to speculate.

chris y

What would be in it for China to invade anyway, unless they think that total internal collapse is imminent and would rather take direct control than have a failed state on their border? Even then, it seems an expensive way to go about things. Haven't they got any proxies?

jamie

well, if JST wasn't an actual Chinese proxy he was widely thought of as China's man in the sense that he vaguely stood for rational authoritarian development.

I think the point about getting Seoul's signoff is that in the report North Korea is signalling South Korean responsibility for any incursion over the Yalu through that ridiculous tale about South Korean troops disguised as businessmen. The implication is that any incursion from the North will involve Seoul in the traditional sea of fire scenario. Hence it would be prudent for Beijing to get some kind of agreement from the South about preventing this if it plans to go over the border.

I don;t think this is at all likely as of *right now*. But it is remarkable that Beijing has decided to publicly signal its displeasure with Pyongyang so openly and in this way.

ajay

70% of the KPA is concentrated on the inter-Korean border, making an incursion from the North a more feasible prospect

Looks like Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Dalian and Qingdao are all within missile range of North Korea, too.

Dan Hardie

ajay: 'Looks like Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Dalian and Qingdao are all within missile range of North Korea, too.'

Good point. Although, thinking about it, if I were at the top of the North Korean leadership, crazy though I would probably be, I think I would still not want to count on the restraint of the Chinese leadership in the event of my chucking missiles at their country. After all, I would (hopefully) tell myself, the Chinese leadership have got a much, much bigger nuclear arsenal than I have...

ajay

Dan: but remember we're talking about what might happen in the concept of an armed Chinese incursion into North Korea. The normal doctrine of restraint might not apply.

ajay

Concept? Context. And I can't even blame a phone.

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