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The Forum > Article Comments > Kim Jong-Unís survival strategy > Comments

Kim Jong-Unís survival strategy : Comments

By Felix Imonti, published 21/5/2018

North and South Korea had to convince Donald Trump that a small achievement is a grand victory.

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As I've said on more than one occasion, North Korea is just a stalking horse for an absolutely and completely duplicitous sabre rattling China. As long as the west remains preoccupied as completely as it is, with North Korea, China will continue to trample the human rights and sovereignty of other nations at will? And we're lead by, it would seem, by escapees from the mad hatter's tea party and are almost welded to the Chinese economically. Why? Because we swallowed other folks BS and allowed our manufacturing base to be exported by failure to comprehend the warm and comfortable spot we found ourselves in would eventually lead to the death of a once robust and dependable manufacturing sector. And those who currently lead us haven't, in my humble opinion the wit or the will to turn it around but like the geniuses, they indubitably are continuing with the same policies, while expecting entirely different outcomes. At no time should a nuclear armed or nuclear-capable North Korea be allowed to boost her current imports of oil. If they want Nuclear power? Let them power their current fleet of ships, subs, tanks, bombers, fighter planes and IBM's with it! Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 21 May 2018 10:45:01 AM
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As a footnote: The other day when China landed some long-range bombers on an island that they claimed as their territory! Taken from other nations now too weak and too poor to effectively resist! And with that landing, China sent a message that could hardly be mistaken. It has intentions for expansion far beyond its current borders, with the juiciest prize of all being a very large resource-rich and very poorly defended Island continent to its south! I've been in crosshairs before and understand why the hair on the back of the neck stands up for no apparent other reason. Only fools would believe we're protected by The U.S. of A' nuclear umbrella. And need one of our own! with one or two tests that send another message back the other way? And ridiculously easy, if its fusion bombs, created from isotopes we know how to make and possess the means. Whats more important self-sufficient self-reliance and a robust self-defence backed local industry or a coal industry that benefits foreigners more than us and just helps make a sabre rattling, possible future adversary far stronger every which way. And a bit reminiscent of pig iron Bob selling scrap metal to a prewar Japan, who sent it back as bullets and bombs! The lessons of history are worthless when nobody learns from them or allow commercial interests to take precedence over self-serving and even more essential than ever, patriotism! And indeed our own more important survival strategy! Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 21 May 2018 1:45:46 PM
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AlanB

Interesting article, a change in perspective is always interesting.

Yes, I've often wondered what the main game is, probably a possible war between the US and China. One of the myths about China is that it doesn't have a history of expansion, it does. Its neighbors have long memories, so do the Chinese. The current regime seems determined to restore the Middle Kingdom, so we all should be nervous, particularly the Russians, there's plenty of valuable real estate just north of China.
Posted by mac, Tuesday, 22 May 2018 5:58:07 PM
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Hi Mac,

And valuable real estate just to the West of China. And the seas just south of China. With imperialism, there's no real limit.

Yes, I think that North Korea and China ARE playing Trump. I suspect that, instead of a meeting between Trump and Kim, there will be (if they haven't happened already) meetings between North and South Korea, China and Japan, with maybe (or maybe not) Russia and Vietnam playing subsidiary roles. They'd be discussing something constructive, like joint economic ventures in North Korea.

Trump's tactics - of demanding this and that, complete de-nuclearisation, etc., otherwise he'll bomb the crap out of North Korea - probably don't work so well in the more sophisticated world of international politics, although they may go down well in Hicksville, USA. He might have to wait a bit longer for his Nobel Peace Prize, or even have to share it with, I don't know - Kim ? Xi Jin-Ping ?

When I was a kid, there was a big bully boy in the school, the headmaster's son. His mode of operation included more violence and arrogance than usual with bullies. Nor was he all that bright. When I think of him now, I see Trump's orange face and hear his bully-voice.

Less than three years to go, folks.

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 12:40:20 PM
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Hi Loudmouth,

Agreed, North Korea is just a minor player in the game. When we most need the US to use its power diplomatically and to have a coherent agenda it's governed by a vulgarian bully who will probably hasten its relative decline. Even a crook like Nixon would be preferable to Trump.

Will America recover from 4 or even 8 years of Trump?
Posted by mac, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 5:34:03 PM
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President Trump has a few very powerful, cards, but it seems he does not know how to play them; one big trouble is that he presumes he is a formidable player. Kim does not have any good cards in his hands, but he knows how to play much better.

Michael Green is an American expert on East Asia. I found his article, Deciphering Kim Jong Un's Motives, very instructive.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/north-korea-/2018-05-16/deciphering-kim-jong-uns-motives.

Loudmouth says, "There will be meetings between China and Japan." I wonder if he can read Jennifer Lynd/Japan, the Never Normal.

https://www.cfr.org/blog/jennifer-lind-japan-never-normal.

I should be pleased if any readers here read my two comments, one on Hamilton Fish/FDR, the other side of the coin: How we were tricked into World War II and one on Charles Beard/President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War,1941: Appearances and Realities, amazon usa.
Posted by Michi, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 7:54:50 PM
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Loudmouth,
I am not sure what you wanted to mean by "meetings between Japan and China." Edwin O. Reischauer, a Harvard professor, was appointed US ambassador to Japan by President Kennedy.
"...the Chinese have never reciprocated the warm feelings of the Japanese, viewing them with distrust and more than a liitle contempt. The Japanese nostalgia for China has been a classic case of unrequited love," wrote Reischauer in 1978. He had in mind the mutual relationship not only in the postwar years but throughout the whole history.
He went on to say, "...the Japanese feeling of cultural closeness to China is not based on reality, (Reischauer, The Japanese.)" There are three Confucianist countries in the world, China, Korea and Vietnam. Japan was not and is not a Confucianist country. Korean culture is more Confucian that Chinese culture is itself.
To be continued.
Posted by Michi, Thursday, 24 May 2018 12:27:54 PM
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Loudmouth,
I (Yoshimichi Moriyama) sent eight comments on Project-Syndicate/Ian Buruma/Political Machismo, April 10. I quoted some lines from Ben-Ami Shillony's Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan. I would like you to read them. You could not have found such a country as Japan, in either prewar or postwar years, where pro-American and pro-English feelings had permeated society. People of the West often think, mistakenly, for instance that democracy was introduced into postwar Japan. Democracy had been developing in prewar Japan at least since 1899 when the Japanese modern constitution was promulgated. Despite the war efforts of the government, not monolithic, to mobilise the nation, "a totalitarian dictatorship did not evolve there," "...on closer analysis, it is difficult to sustain the contension that Japan was a military dictatorship or that she was led by lunatics," "Despite the barrage of (official) anti-American rhetoric (as part of national war mobilisation), it was not easy to persuade the puplic to hate the Americans," "The attempt to transfer the traditional admiration for Britain and the US to Nazi Germany did not succeed," and "these pro-Western feelings, which could not be erased, were soon to come to surface from the ashes of defeat (Shillony)."

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/political-machismo-trump-mussolini-by-ian-buruma-2018-4.
Posted by Michi, Thursday, 24 May 2018 1:15:44 PM
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Hi Michi,

When I wrote, "I suspect that, instead of a meeting between Trump and Kim, there will be (if they haven't happened already) meetings between North and South Korea, China and Japan, with maybe (or maybe not) Russia and Vietnam playing subsidiary roles...." Im sorry if you thought I meant meetings only between Japan and China. I apologise for any confusion.

As for some Chinese distrust of the Japanese, probably Nanking has something to do with that. And, in total, the loss of fifty million, mostly civilians, is quite a legacy to be distrustful about. For all that, I think they will still co-operate over North Korea no matter what Trump thinks.

Lots of surprises yet :)

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 24 May 2018 1:46:11 PM
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Michi

I'd agree with Loudmouth's comments particularly with the atrocities committed by the Japanese armed forces in China and other Asian nations. The Japanese were the Nazis of the Asia-Pacific, although they seemed to have amnesia about their appalling wartime record, their neighbours haven't forgotten.

The statement that Japan was 'tricked' into WW2 is ridiculous. Japan successfully attacked China and Russia early in the 20 century, both ramshackle regimes. The country's catastrophic and remarkably stupid mistake was the assumption that the US would also be easily defeated
Posted by mac, Thursday, 24 May 2018 3:40:54 PM
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Loudmouth and Mac,

Perhaps you meant five million Chinese people were killed in the Sino-Japanese war. The Chiang Kaishek's Natinalists said three million at the end of the war. When the Communists arrived in Beijing, they said ten million; and Deng Xiaoping upped it to fifteen million, but I do not remeber when because the Chinese do things like this so often, which is an normal affair. Jiang Zemin said thirty-five million in Moscow in 1994. It seems that the war was still going on in 1994 between Japan and China. A Chinese professor was asked by a Japanese woman expert on what evidence they claimed thirty-five. He replied a number smaller than that did not emotionally satisfy them.
To be continued.
Posted by Michi, Friday, 25 May 2018 11:42:08 AM
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Loudmouth and Mac,

About the Nanjing atrocities. The Japanese army attacked the Chinese in December, 1937. When they arrived there, they found Chinese bodies already there. The main thing is that the Chinese commander had fled the city without leaving any order or instruction of what to do. The Chinese soldiers took off their military uniforms and stole themselves, wearing civilian clothes, into the general populice, and yet many still tried to shoot at the Japanese; the Japanese were thrown into panick; they tried to distinguish between soldiers and civilians but did not have enough composure and time; they started doing awful things. No doubt a lot of innocent Chinese must have been murdered.

How many innocent civilians did Australian news media report were killed at that time? Life, the American pictorial magazine, reported thirty thousand and French media said twenty thousand. Even if these numbers were correct, the number of Chinese soldiers need to subracted.

There were a lot of Westeners were living or doing business in Nanjing. The Japanese did not expel them; entry and exit were free for them and Chinese; the Westerners could freely report from the city.

I do not know how many people were killed in the battles in Stalingrad of 1942~43. For the number of three hundred thousand people to die would have required a long series of warfare of a formidable intensity and concentration, which was not the case with the Nanajing battle.
To be continued.
Posted by Michi, Friday, 25 May 2018 12:08:46 PM
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Hi Michi,

So, you're suggesting g that Japanese armies spent many years, 1905-1945, on the Asian mainland in China, and that incidentally, at least five million were killed ?

Perhaps this was just an isolated incident. Like the invasion of Formosa (Taiwan) in 1895; and the invasion of Korea in 1905; and the invasion of Manchuria in 1931; and the invasion of China proper in 1937. They too were merely isolated incidents.

Like the invasion of the Philippines; and the invasion of Indo-China and occupation of Thailand; and the invasion of the Malay Peninsula; and the invasion of the Dutch East Indies; and the invasion of Burma. All merely isolated incidents. Nothing to get all that worked up about. Only the military occupation of countries with about a quarter of the world's population.

There's not much we can do about the past, but perhaps we'll be able to move on from the past when it is truthfully acknowledged. Confession is good for the soul, Michi :)

Cheers,

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Friday, 25 May 2018 1:41:59 PM
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Loudmouth,

To move on from the past is inseparably connected with the past, and the past is not there for everyone to see and agree. It is to some or a large extent in our mind or in our interpretation.
Confession is good for the soul. But does one have to confess the crime one did not commit? I do not think so.

The Sino-Japanese war of 1894~95 and the Russo-Japanese war of 1904~05 were fought for national self-defense. National self-defense? Yes. Japan opened or, to be more exact, was made to open its closed door in 1868, namely in the coming height of European imperialism. At that time Great Britain and Czarist Russian were in rivalry in three parts of the world, the Balkans(which includes Crimea), Central Asia (which includes Persia or Iran), and Northern China (which includes North and South Korea). Crimea, Iran, and North Korea will perhaps call something to your mind.

China was obdurate and obtuse, but she had never been a pacifist country; she was imperial and imperialistic. If Japan had been situated geographically and geopolitically somewhere like Switzerland or Norway, she would have been saved from developing imperialistic policy. Japan had to wean the Korean Penisula from Chinese suzerainty.
Posted by Michi, Friday, 25 May 2018 11:01:36 PM
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Hi Michi,

"Japan had to wean the Korean Penisula from Chinese suzerainty."

So ........ Japan had (and still has ?) a divine right to invade/absorb/settle Korea ? Yes, i can partly understand why you may think so, since Japanese are, after all, Koreans, having migrated from the Korean Peninsula thousands of years ago as hunter-gatherers. Koreans are like your own, your fathers and mothers, your cousins.

Anyway, to get BTT, the Yanks may have invented a new chess move - call it the Libya Gambit: you threaten your opponent with all manner of destruction, to bomb the crap out of them, and demand that they submit, in ways similar to Libya's capitulation in 2003 - that they give up all their offensive weapons, and then their leader is butchered, a knife shoved up his backside, he is castrated, and then beaten to death with rocks.

Yeah, that might work. Pity about the cancellation. Will a meeting happen ? Or will alternative actions by China, Japan and South Korea sort out the issues and bring about a de-militarisation of the Peninsula at the same time as their contributions to major economic development in North Korea ?

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Saturday, 26 May 2018 10:16:30 AM
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Loudmouth,
"There isn't much we can do about the past, but we'll be able to move on from the past..."

There is much some can get from "the past." For instance, the Chinese communists arrived in Beijing as the new despotic ruler in October, 1944. Throughout the 1950s, China was full of vitriolic, berserk anti-American rhetoric and feelings, but not such anti-Japanism. In the 1960s they started, alongside the anti-American rhetoric, anti-Russian propaganda which was as berserk and belligerent but no anti-Japanese feelings. You might have thought that China might start war on the United States or Russian any time.
In the 1970s anti-Ameriacn phrases and feelings disappeared almost overnight; Nixon was coming. In the 1980s anti-Russian wording and feelings gradually died away.
Throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s no anti-Japanese feelings, and on the contrary Beijing wanted to widen its economic and trade with Japan. They had the purpose of widening economic contact with Japan in rapprochement with the United States. Deng Xiaoping came to Japan in 1978 and showered a lot of admiration for Japan. The Chinese often said to the Japanese that Japan should increase her defense expenses.

The Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989 shocked the Chinese rulers so abysmally that they thought out making use of the past in order to defend their hold and grip on power from the deeply frustrated people; they started to say things like "The Japanese have not repented of their past," "They are remilitarising their country," "They killed three hundred thousand Chinese in Nanjing," "They kidnapped two hunderd women and girls and forced them to work in prostitution. The women and girls were all murdered when Japan was defeated so taht no traces of this igonomious crime would be left, etc."

History Wars: Japan-False Indictment of the Century (ISBN978-4-8191-1267-3) writes about the comfort women issue.
Some details by a Japanese expert are available on the Internet in Japanese and English at the address:

http://www.seisaku-center.net/sites/default/files/uploaded/TheComfortWomenIssueinSharperFocus.pdf.
Posted by Michi, Saturday, 26 May 2018 1:27:24 PM
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I sent a comment, American Humanism, on Chinese Comfort Women, amazon usa. I shall appreciate if you take time to read it.

Sonfa Oh's two books deal with Korean culture vis-a-vi Japan:
What makes Korea insults Japan and Getting Over It: Why Korea Needs to Stop Bashing Japan.
Oh is a South-Korean born, naturalised Japanese. She is teaching at a Japanese university.
Posted by Michi, Saturday, 26 May 2018 1:33:30 PM
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I am afraid I was not clear enough. Since the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty of 1978 Japan gave a lot of grants, loans, technology and made investment. The Chinese economy picked up and grow. They do not say anything like that openly.
But the Chinese ruling elite was so shocked by the Tiananmen Square Protest in 1989 that they started their anti-Japanese campaign, so cantankerous and belligerent, so as to divert people's anger and frustration onto Japan.
The campaign has effective-by date like medecine. The CCP has come to know that they cannot tide over their difficulty only with anti-Japanese policy, and the Chinese economy is in great trouble, so they are softening it.

There were two events that most shocked the Chinese diplomatic circle in the 20th century, all before the Nanjing Incident of 1937. One was that Japanese delegates sat on equal terms on the victors' side of the table with the delegations from the European and American countries in the Beijing Peace Conference of 1901 after the Boxers' Rebellion. The other was that Japan had a permanent seat in the Council of the League of Nations, but that no such privilege was bestowed on China.

As for the Korean deep contempt of the Japanese, "the Chosun (Korean) Dynasty, which managed its country, Korea, by paying the utmost courtesy to China and following China as a model state, gradually incresed its confidence and regarded itself as having the same characteristics as China. Eventually the Chosun Dynasty came to regard itseld as a little China (the Little Middle Kingdom)," from Sonfa Oh's What makes Korea insult Japan.

"Anti-Japanese activists asked them (South Korean comfort women), "Isn't it true you were taken away by force?" and the form of this question offered them an unexpected way out. For the first time, they were able to connect with ordinary people in a way they had not expected. Until that point, society had looked coldly on them, and they had thought they had done something for which they had only themselves to blame," from Sonfa Oh's Getting Over It.
Posted by Michi, Saturday, 26 May 2018 8:24:26 PM
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I am glad the commmentay is still on display. I hope my comments will be read by many people.
The people of the West, the United States included, made a favourable and friendly misunderstanding of China and an unfavourable and unfriendly misunderstading of Japan from the 19th century when East Asia and the West met in modern times. They thought China would quicly modernise itself but Japan would have much difficulty in doing so.

I said Japan's war, 1894~95, with China was for Japan's national self-defense, and Loudmouth said in reply, "So Japan had and still has a divine right to invade, absorb, settle Korea?"
Japan fought the war, not to invade, absorb, settle Korea. Japan fought it in order to avoid being divided and carved up by Western powers, as I (Michi Moriyama) said in my two comments, 15 October, 2010, on Nicholas Kristof/Look Out for the Diaoyu Islands/New York Times online.

https://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/look-out-for-the-diaoyu-islands/

Japan had received news of what the Western countries had been doing and the news of the Opium War mainly through her conact with the Dutch emvoys; the Japanese leaders thought that Japan would be carved up if the Russo-British rivalry was left as it was developing in this area. They wanted China to take the lead in defending themselves, but China was insensitive to and oblivious of the gathering storm, and so Japan had to take a chance; the leaders were not very sure be of victory and most, if not litterally all, of Western observers thought that Japan would easily be defeated by China.
It was a war fought, a proxy war, for the interests of Czarist Russia and perfidious Albion, with Chinese and Japanese blood.
To be continued.
Posted by Michi, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 2:50:15 PM
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It was Russian influence, not Japanese infulence, that extended over the Korean Peninsula. So the Japanese had to fight again in 1904~05. Great Britain and the United States again stood behind Japan because they did not like any increase of Russian presence; they lent a lot of money to Japan. It was not a Japanese win; it was a draw.

Settle Korea? Loudmouth was joking. Japan used far more money on Korea than she drew out from the peninsula. "By this standard, however, the best colonial master of all time has been Japan, for no ex-colonies have done so well as (South) Korea and Taiwan...The world belongs to those with a clear conscience, something Japan has had in near-unanimous abundance (David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.)" I would rather have Prof. Landes had included North Korea and Manchuria. North Korea was the best industrialised part in the peninsula, and Manchuria in China at the time of Japanese surrender.

"Nonetheless, Japan's rule over Korea was very different from Western powers' control over their colonies.
1 Japan implemented no policies aimed at exploiting Korea.
2 Japan did not use armed suppression to govern.
3 Japan rigorously promoted the modernization of culture, society
and education.
4 Japan promoted the assimilation of Korean people into mainland
Japan. (Sonfa Oh, Getting Over It: Why Korea Needs to Stop Bashing Japan.)"

When China suffered a terrible defeat in the Opium war, her leaders still did not feel any need to change themselves; they thought as before that those blue-eyed, yellow-haired barbarians from the Occident would ultimately acknowledge the greatness and splendour of the Middle Kingdom and kneel down and kowtow.
When China was defeated in their war with Japan, their shock was enormous like the one the world boxing champion of the heavyweight class would fee
Posted by Michi, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 3:27:54 PM
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When China was defeated by Japan, her shock was such that the boxing champion of the heavyweigt class would feel if knocked down by a boxer of the flyweight class.
But the interesting thing is that Chinese children and young people are taught at school that the Opium War woke up China, not the war with Japan.
Another interesting thing is that Chinese school does not teach that Chinese leaders like Liang Qichao or young men Chiang Kaishek and Zhou Enlai went to Japan to learn.
Posted by Michi, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 3:40:57 PM
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