Bowing to North Korea


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Reuters reported on June 28 that, according to the Pentagon, a joint U.S.-Republic of Korea naval exercise that had been expected in June will most likely take place in July, though a date has yet to be set. The exercise is supposed to be a show of force in the wake of the sinking of the South Korea corvette Cheonan with the loss of 46 lives in March. An international investigation of the sinking in May concluded that the corvette was sunk by a North Korean torpedo probably fired in ambush from a submarine. The exercise was expected to start June 8, then June 28. The question now is whether it will be held at all.

The People’s Republic of China, North Korea’s protector, has strongly protested the proposed naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea between the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese mainland. Of particular concern to Beijing is speculation that the aircraft carrier George Washington, (CVN-73) based in Yokosuka, Japan, will take part. The carrier departed on its summer patrol on June 14, leading a strike group consisting of two guided missile cruises and a destroyer squadron. At least one submarine is also normally assigned to such a group. From June 21-25, the task force participated in an undersea warfare exercise with Japanese air and naval units, but far from the contested waters of the Yellow Sea.

A June 9 editorial in the Chinese Communist Party news paper Global Times warned against the joint U.S.-ROK naval operation, arguing that the “Yellow Sea is no place for a U.S. carrier.” It states:

The U.S. should reconsider its military movements in the West Pacific. Disguised as a move aimed at maintaining regional stability, the deployment of a carrier off of China’s coast is a provocation that will generate hostility among the Chinese public toward the U.S. Who would not be bothered by an opponent hanging around at the door with a gun all day long?

The editorial also called the American carrier “a symbol of its past hegemony,” implying that the U.S. Navy was no longer the dominant force in the western Pacific. An earlier editorial had stated that the Obama administration was undecided about whether to include the carrier in the joint exercise and cautioned, “The decision should be made with consideration given to China’s wishes. Media outlets in South Korea and Japan have predicted that China will be unhappy if the carrier does indeed join the exercises.” Beijing constantly refers to the Yellow Sea as “China’s territorial sea,” a designation with no standing under international law.

As the United States backed off its planned exercise, China moved ahead with its own naval demonstration, set for June 30-July 5. The area in which the People’s Liberation Army Navy will conduct live-fire exercises is just north of Taiwan. “The location of the Chinese drill is set to be held in the East China Sea, which would make the foreign navies entering the Yellow Sea uneasy,” said Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military analysis who was quoted in Global Times on June 29. He said the East China Sea is the only way into the Yellow Sea. Song argued it would be easy to form “a favorable war situation” for the Chinese Navy to “shut the dogs up and beat them.”

Song was echoing increasingly shrill voices in China denouncing the United States, as reported by the Associated Press. “China should cover the Yellow Sea with ships and missiles and open fire and drive them back should the American military dare invade our territorial waters,” a commentary on the popular ccvic.com news website demanded.

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  • Joseph Tan

    President Barack Obama is quoted as saying "there is a difference between restraint and willful blindness" to President Hu Jintao in refusing to go along with the American condemnation of alleged North Korea sinking of the Cheonan. "Alleged" because:-
    i) there is no independent experts in the investigation of the sinking – independent means include having Chinese, Russian or even North Korean expert involved in the investigation
    ii) The basis of natural justice is amongst other thing – allow the other the right of hearing. America NEVER allow North Korea a chance to explain – in fact North Korea flatly denied the sinking caused by her.
    iii) Evidence is that the sinking is at a place where the American- Korean military exercise is going on or imminent to go on. As such what is the chance of the North Korean sub going through such a condone? Her sub is obsolete by US and South Korean standard not to mention the ASW (anti-sub warfare) that US had deployed in the area.
    iv) Although North Korea may not be very co-operative with international opinion or persuasion, but that does not meant that they are so dumb and ridiculous to say that she sent a sub on such a reckless mission at the expense of not only being caught but endangered their seamen as well. Further their sub is in no way match the American or South Korean navy or sub.
    v) No wonder even majority if not most of North Korean (saved the military) do not believe the cause is through the North Korean, much less the Chinese nor the Russian.
    vi) The cause may be due to unexploded mine or other weapon that thousands that were dumped in there during the Korean War (1951 – 1953) that many were still unaccounted for.
    vii) Therefore when Barack Obama says that the Chinese is "willful blind" to North Korea alleged act missed a point. The very basis for that condemnation itself does not hold water. How can such a distinguished Harvard graduate and the America president make such a loose and reckless statement to another leader.
    viii) With greatest humility. I think Barack Obama may even owed President Hu JIntao a personal if not a public apology.

    Thank you

  • Peter

    Mr. Joseph Tan,

    Thanks but no thanks for your efforts to chime in any piece of knowledge you think you might have to share. First off, the Korean War took place between 1950 through 1953.

    Since then, there have been up to eleven, specific incidents of North Korean attacks on S. Korean assets, personnel – to include the recent Cheonan incident. As history continues to repeat itself, North Korea has continued to deny their involvement in any of the internationally known incidents.

    With the sinking of Cheonan, North Korea yet again showed how elusive and dishonorable they can be. Allowing them to conduct a joint investigation of the Cheonan ship will be like 'allowing the robber to come back to the crime scene.'

    In addition, there are two more defectors that have come forward and commented on this incident. I ask that you read the following site to engage and broaden your horizon on this incident: http://english.chosun.com/svc/news/printContent.h….

  • USMCSniper

    China uses North Korea as their "bad guy" to intimidate and get cooperation in the Far East. One must remember that it was the Red Chinese that negotiated the Korean Truce at the 38th parallel in 1953 with the North Koreans politely sitting quietly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

    What will the Chinese do, sew the buttons of their export shirts on upside down?
    No one can stand up to the American Navy nor its power, however with wimp in-Chief
    it is possible that they may send out a canoe and demand surrender of the fleet and
    from Obama get it…………………………..William

  • Gigi

    Can anyone detail incidents which transpired with North Korea involving American military between 1993 and 1999? This may have involved US Army military who may have mistakenly crossed into an unauthorized area while patrolling the DMZ. Those involved may have also been ordered not to speak about it.