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Noon in Korea @NoonInKorea
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KJU describes growing NK-China ties thus: "We are family. Today we're seeing our relationship develop into a very special one not seen in ages or anywhere for that matter - we are like family members that share and deal with the ups and downs of life."…
That's from KJU's banquet speech. At the first China summit in March, KJU mentioned the close relationship enjoyed by grandpa Kim Il Sung with Chairman Mao: "We are visiting China to follow wishes of our late Great Leaders to cultivate and maintain close relations with China"
So what exactly is KJU doing? Meeting with Xi 3 times in 43 days and so soon after the US summit? His prior summits with Xi also happened to coincide with SoS Pompeo's Pyongyang visits. This is what Kim Il Sung used to do between China and Russia: it's called "Pendulum Diplomacy"
Or maybe it should be called "swinging pocket watch diplomacy." Using NK's geopolitical leverage, Kim Il Sung swung between China & SU from late 1950s to 1970s when 2 countries were feuding. He was able to wrangle economic aid packages from both countries…
We call this "divide and conquer" in the West. "NK does this kind of stuff well. It plays one party against another, especially those that are feuding or have conflicting interests. Now it's using the tariff war between China-US to loosen international sanctions. It's succeeding"
NK is being direct about this and it's a clear message to the US: "Look, we have leverage and a 'world class poker player' in Xi Jinping. Better go easy on us: give us interim relief from sanctions or Xi may do so on his own."
But is all going down the tubes? Not really if you think about the big picture. NK is doing this while lessening overall economic dependence on China. Putin is coming and wants pipeline access to SK and needs Trans-Siberian Railway connected to Hamkyong. That could contain China
When NK wouldn't stop firing missiles in 2017, Gazprom thought of bypassing NK and sending 2 separate pipelines to SK-Japan from Kozmino in Primorsky Krai. If NK behaves this is the route. Plus the railway freight connection could contain One Belt One Road…
Connecting to the Trans-Siberia Railway via Vladivostok (Hamkyong) could open up quicker freight transport to W Europe for SK than through ocean shipping lanes and one up OBOR. Moon's off to Moscow for a summit with Putin to discuss these and other issues…
Moon's speech at the Russian Duma stressed 3 forms of linkage SK seeks to build via NK: the ①Trans-Siberian Railway; ②Gazprom natural gas pipeline & ③electric power grid. Russia wants the East Side of Korean peninsula for development while China wants the West Side via Dandong
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