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However, as one expert revealed in an unearthed essay, China may actually look to envelope the North as its own. Full-blown war ensued after the Soviet Union and US liberated Korea from Imperial Japan at the end of World War 2. This was a result of the country being divided into two: North and South.
While the Soviets and China supported the North, the US sided with the South.
Failures on both sides to invade the other led to an armistice, which in turn saw the Kim family rising to power, swooping on a deflated nation and claiming it as their own.
Ever since, the North has isolated itself from global affairs, with Koreans who live there led to believe that the Kim family has some sort of Divine Right to rule.
The dictatorship has maintained its aggressive stance to the West, but only recently has it been able to exert more influence with its amassing of a considerable nuclear arsenal.
Aggression from the North is quite literally a rollercoaster ride: months can pass without qualm; months of nuclear tension might follow.
Earlier this month, leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, branded South Korea as “human scum” after thousands of anti-Kim leaflets crossed the border.
A few days later, the North blew up a joint liaison office with the South located in the border city of Kaesong.
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Yet, this morning, Kim announced that the North would be suspending its plans for “military action” against the South.
State media reported that the supreme leader had taken the “prevailing situation” into consideration, choosing to play “good cop”, the BBC reported.
Things remain tense, however, with China’s watchful eye over a teetering totalitarian state – something that is high on the agenda of the West.
The US has historically reasoned that Beijing wishes to appease the North and prevent its current political system from collapsing, as any such event would likely result in an influx of refugees crossing into China’s north-eastern territory.
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Oriana Skylar Mastro, a North Korea expert at Georgetown University, however, argued in a 2018 essay in Foreign Affairs that the truth is to the contrary, claiming the line of reasoning is “dangerously out of date”.
She wrote: “Today, China is no longer wedded to North Korea’s survival.
“In the event of a conflict or the regime’s collapse, Chinese forces would intervene to a degree not previously expected — not to protect Beijing’s supposed ally but to secure its own interests.”
And, a 2018 Vox report by journalist Yochi Dreazen, who spoke to Ms Mastro and others, suggests that in the event of the dictatorship collapsing, China would send hundreds of thousands of troops into North Korea to seize its weapons.
Mr Dreazen wrote that: “Chinese and North Korean troops wouldn’t be working together against a common enemy; they’d be trying to kill each other.”
Ms Matro told Mr Dreazen how “China would have to fight its way into North Korea.
“For the North Koreans, enemy No. 1 is obviously the United States, but enemy No. 2 is China.
“They understand they’d have to potentially fight both countries.”
And, while the US has protocols and special operations to send troops into Pyongyang if there were any signs that Kim’s dynasty was collapsing, “Chinese troops would almost certainly be sent into North Korea at the same time, and with the same goal, as the US forces,” Mr Dreazen explained.
He said that any war between the South and North would inevitably lead to a reunified country led by the pro-US government is Seoul.
An event which “China would want to make sure it wasn’t left out in the cold”.
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