To adequately understand the current world situation, one must analyze the relationship of two nations that dates back to more than 60 years ago
It is imperative to understand the North Korean situation from China’s and Russia’s scope by looking at the facts from different perspectives. In the first place, historic events will show the relevance when it comes to interpreting Russia’s and China’s behavior. Having this as a base, it is going to make it easier to analyze the International System.
It all starts with the Korean War in the fifties where both the Soviet Union and China decided to support North Korea as a response to South Korean supporters coming from United States and United Kingdom, among others. The Soviet Union was one of the main actors once they determined the borders by establishing the 38th parallel as a limit. On the other hand, China, at that time, had already overturned their internal situation with Mao’s revolution, so they found an ally in now Russia, all while supporting the war form the north.
With these characteristics on the table, it’s easy to identify the behavior from both countries and to assume that those interests are not aligned with the NATO ideals. Both China and Russia have a sanctioning stance toward North Korea and its program of intercontinental missiles that are seen as provocations.
However, they also reject United States’ and South Korea’s trials in the Sea of Japan as a measure of intimidation. Both China and Russia ponder on the idea of a stable and lasting peace by eliminating both actions in the region. They also reject UN Security Council resolutions that refer to the use of force.
Nevertheless, it exists another important variable that forbids the cooperation between China and Russian with NATO. Sergei Lavrov, a Russian diplomat, would emphasize that "attempts to economically strangle North Korea are equally unacceptable". Therefore, in view of this scenario, it is inferred that Russia and China do not seek to change a regime in North Korea, much less provoke a coup.
In one hand, Russia establishes a strategy of economic rapprochement by making available a railway linking Korea with the Russian border port of Vladivostok 130 kilometers from North Korea. On the other hand, China is the only major trading partner of North Korea and its main facilitator in all types of tertiary services, so the Asian country would not want to miss this unique relationship.
What results in the current situation in North Korea? In the first place, an irreconcilable diplomatic relationship between the United States, Russia, and China against the agreements beyond the rejection of North Korean actions. With these conclusions, the use of force as a measure is unacceptable. Two, China seems to be stronger than Russia in persuading North Korea against its international action given its economic relations and certainly due to the Chinese economic power superior to the Russian.
What’s in store for the forthcoming? If we talk about the immediate future, there still seems to be discord between nations; the fact that the G20 meeting in Germany didn’t leave room in the agenda for the situation in North Korea and has emphasized the environmental problems and conflicts of Syria, only allows bilateral discussions between Trump and Xi to reinforce general ideas without going into details. For the medium-term future, it seems that the actions will be determined by the level of provocation of North Korea and the subsequent dispute between United States, China, and Russia.
Latin American Post | Diego Prado
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto