October 15, 2006


China may back coup against Kim (Michael Sheridan, October 16, 2006, Times of London)

The Chinese Government has been ultra-cautious in its reaction. However, since Monday, Foreign Ministry officials have started to make a point of distinguishing between the North Korean people and their Government in conversations with diplomats.

Ahead of yesterday's Security Council vote, some in Beijing argued against heavy sanctions on North Korea for fear that these would destroy what remains of a pro-Chinese "reformist" faction inside the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"In today's DPRK Government, there are two factions, sinophile and royalist," one Chinese analyst wrote online. "The objective of the sinophiles is reform, Chinese-style, and then to bring down Kim Jong-il's royal family. That's why Kim is against reform. He's not stupid."

More than one Chinese academic agreed that China yearned for an uprising similar to the one that swept away the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 and replaced him with communist reformers and generals. The Chinese made an intense political study of the Romanian revolution and even questioned president Ion Iliescu, who took over, about how it was done and what roles were played by the KGB and by Russia.

Mr Kim, for his part, ordered North Korean leaders to watch videos of the swift and chaotic trial and execution of Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, the vice-prime minister, as a salutary exercise.

The balance of risk between reform and chaos dominated arguments within China's ruling elite. The Chinese have also permitted an astonishing range of vituperative internet comment about an ally with which Beijing maintains a treaty of friendship and co-operation. Academic Wu Jianguo published an article in a Singapore newspaper - available online in China - bluntly saying: "I suggest China should make an end of Kim's Government."

"The Chinese have given up on Kim Jong-il," commented one diplomat. "The question is, what are they going to do about it?"

Hinting at the options, Chinese online military commentators have exposed plots and purges inside North Korea that were previously unknown or unconfirmed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 15, 2006 5:49 PM

This is silly. The Chinese have "options?!!"

They could end Kim's regime tomorrow.

Posted by: Bruno at October 16, 2006 9:48 AM

Then do what about the millions of starving refugees?

Posted by: erp at October 16, 2006 10:12 AM


Like there isn't enough food in the world to feed them.

What is your point? They are starving now.

Following OJs logic, we should import them here by the the boat load and have them undercut Mexican Wages.

Posted by: Bruno at October 16, 2006 11:17 AM

Refugees are just folks headed to freedom.

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2006 11:42 AM

Of course there's enough food to feed them. The problem is political not logistical.

Posted by: erp at October 16, 2006 6:39 PM