May 27

Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?

Written by Legalist on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, News | Tags:, ,
Add comments

War talks are in the air on the Korean peninsula. North Korea sank South Korea’s warship Cheonan. South Korea retaliated by imposing various sanctions on the North. The North responded by imposing its own sanctions on the South.

War can easily happen, by accident or design. South Koreans are nervous. Americans are nervous. Japanese are nervous. And others are nervous, too. Everyone is looking to China to bring the North Koreans to their sense.

China has many reasons to be hesitant. The American-South Korean military alliance is as much against China as against North Korea. Then, if North Korea collapses under pressure, refugees will flood northeast China. Finally, American troops would come to Chinese border.

If China doesn’t get involved, the tension between the North and South will escalate. Willing or not, China must get involved.

But in order to win domestic support, China must clearly articulate its policies opposing any military conflicts between its neighbors, any third country using force against its neighbors, any foreign military bases stationing in the territories of its neighbors and any military alliances in its neighborhood without being included as a member.

I think only when such clear policies are in place, would the Chinese domestic oppinion support a more involvement or cooperative policy on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere.

There are currently 4 comments highlighted: 68456, 68486, 68502, 68541.

122 Responses to “Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?”

  1. pug_ster Says:

    First of all, it is alleged that NK actually sank the Cheonan as there are many skeptics that NK actually did it. I think China is doing the right thing as they are urging calm trying to deescalate this situation while NK makes threats if some ship not to get close to its territory and US and SK conducts ‘war games’ near NK waters.

  2. Steve Says:

    Legalist, you wrote: “The American-South Korean military alliance is as much against China as against North Korea.” How did you arrive at this conclusion?

    You also wrote, “Finally, American troops would come to Chinese border.” Again, what is your basis for saying this?

    Personally, I completely disagree with you on both statements. It would not be in the interests of the United States for either of these to happen. Could you present an argument for either so I have a better idea of where you’re coming from?

  3. r v Says:

    One might call the public display of these wargames, “sabre-rattling”? We should also remember that Cheonan was sank while it was in a wargame, very close to the sea border with North Korea.

    All this has familiar signs of the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident. And the salvaged torpedo parts neatly match virtually every obviously indicative aspect of a previously salvaged NK torpedo, right down to chalk writings on the propeller.

    Frankly, the odds of finding 2 NK torpedoes with similar chalk writings on propellers itself is astronomical.

  4. S.K. Cheung Says:

    If the CCP wants the support of Chinese citizens for engaging in the Korean dispute, I would think all she needs to do is to demonstrate to her people how such involvement would be of benefit to them. All of those other “policy” statements are directives to other countries. Why would those countries be obligated to CHinese policies? Why would Chinese people need to hear about policies that have no enforcement mechanism in order to support an attempt to de-escalate tensions in the country next door?

  5. colin Says:

    Legalist, is right: “The American-South Korean military alliance is as much against China as against North Korea.”

    American foreign policy, quite rational, is to keep any potential challengers to her power from becoming reality. China, obviously, is the biggest perceived long term threat. NK is front and center, because if NK can be “turned” and become a US ally, much like iraq, then China will be isolated as the worst “neighbor” on the block. China needs NK to keep the US off it’s own back.

  6. pug_ster Says:


    I agree as China’s policy doesn’t want to interfere with other countries’ sovereignty, unless its own sovereignty is threatened. Believe it or not, China does have sanctions against North Korea after the first nuclear test, but does allow basic necessities to go NK like food, fuel and electricity, whereas SK doesn’t allow anything to go to NK, including food.

    I doubt that NK can be turned to US’ ally because US sleeps in the same bed as SK. Even if they do, they won’t turn their backs against China because the relationship between the 2 countries are too great. On the contrast, US gained alot as the result of this incident. Earlier this year, Japanese PM was going to try to get rid of US presence in Okinawa, but now this idea was scrapped.

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Pugster:
    that’s the problem with sanctions. It’s the average North Korean who will suffer (more than they already do now). I’m sure Kim Jong Il will still find money for his toys, and he’s in no danger of not getting his 3 squares a day.

  8. r v Says:

    I was just thinking about the NK affair in the world scenario yesterday. 天下大乱必有英雄,as the old Chinese saying. At the same time, without great troubles, there is no great change.

    Some have compared the world today to the “Spring Autumn and Warring Nations” period in Chinese history, because of the various nations holding to their own interests in a geopolitical game as similar to the various small city states in Chou Dynasty China. But I do not believe this is a correct comparison.

    Remember, even in Early Chou (Western Chou) period, which lasted over 200 years of relative peace and stability, Chou China was already a conglomeration of over 100 city states with various local lords and dukes paying tribute and loyalty to the Chou royal family. The Chou royal family itself only controlled a small territory out of all China, but the Chou holding was the largest, and Chou army was the most powerful.

    If one is to compare, Chou royal power was merely Hegemonic in nature at the time. Similarly to today’s situation, US is the richest and the most militarily powerful region, as Chou was.

    Also similar, early Chou royal power maintained its close alliance with other powerful families (some with the same ancestry and last name as Chou), stabilizing Chou’s royal control by forming a bloc of geopolitical alliances. This is comparable to today’s Western powers.

    However, Chou’s royal power eventually declined. Most attributed this decline to corruption in the Chou court. Other theories point to the fact that other nations became more and more powerful, and began to rival Chou. Once Chou began to show signs of decline, its old alliances also fell apart.

    Chou was besieged by invasions from barbarians and unable to quell border wars between its tributaries. Thus, slowly, Chou faded into obscurity. The Hegemony falls, because it can no longer maintain the peace behind its banner.

    *What we have today, is a world like China near the end of Western Chou, trouble stirring, but not quite festering. There is still relative peace in the world, but the wind of discontent is on the horizon.

    NK, SK, China, Japan, most of all represent the inability of US to affect any outcome in this huge section of Asia. And the region is left to the local nations to come to their own resolutions. Regardless of the outcome, the trouble for US (and its allies) is just beginning.

    What’s the use of US bases in SK or Japan, if the deterrent of US itself is not working for NK? SK and Japan may keep the symbolic “tributary” bases for US, only for the show that they are still allied with the “Hegemon”, but both SK and Japan know they have to find their own solutions now (and very likely, it has to be with China’s help).

    You see, it didn’t matter that Chou still had the biggest army, the most land and riches, or the title of King still in its name. It was challenged, it had no solutions, no influences. Thus, began the Spring and Autumn period, where Dukes of various stated vied for control and influence, while still claiming to serve the “Chou King”. It took these dukes another 400 years of warfare, before some of them began to declare themselves King.

    NK is trouble for the world. But most of all, it is a test of US Hegemonic power.

  9. Steve Says:

    @ Colin #5: What you wrote was accurate in 1950 but would it be accurate today? If the USA was so fearful of China, they wouldn’t trade with them circa 1950. If the USA was so fearful of China, they wouldn’t have pushed for their membership in the WTO. The USA has no desire to put troops on the Chinese border. So why are there US troops in South Korea? If the answer isn’t obvious, then one wouldn’t believe the reasons anyway. Do you really think the CCP is happy with the behavior of the North Korean government? Dealing with those guys is lose/lose for everyone. Right now China spends an immense amount of money supporting the government there when that money could be better spent on the Chinese people themselves. It’s spent because the CCP doesn’t believe they have a viable alternative.

    There is a desire from the people on both sides for the two Koreas to eventually re-unite. But what looked like it might happen in the near future now looks like it won’t happen until the distant future.

    South Korea isn’t a puppet government of the USA, regardless of what some of you believe. Do you really think governments are that pliable? It’s an ally, not a puppet state. The previous South Korean government wasn’t very pro-American, if you remember. I used to go to Korea all the time on business and we’d talk about this. I didn’t perceive a dislike of Americans but I also didn’t perceive a strong love of the United States. Most of the people I met there wanted some sort of accommodation with the North. Unfortunately, Kim just manipulated that desire for short term gain. He and his family have no desire to give up power to anyone.

    The USA and South Korea stage war games, the North Koreans stage war games, the Chinese stage war games and the Japanese stage war games. Are we saying that it’s OK for the Japanese, North Koreans and Chinese to stage war games but not OK for the USA and South Koreans to do so? That makes no sense to me.

    Apparently, there was a tremendous amount of evidence gathered after the explosion. Trying to boil it down to one detail isn’t very realistic. Unless we all personally sifted through all the evidence, we really wouldn’t have much insight as to exactly what happened. Trying to form an expert view after reading a couple of news clippings written by someone who did not have access to the evidence isn’t really a sound thesis. It seems the countries who were directly affected by this incident believe the evidence. That’s all we really know. The rest is conjecture and speculation. I doubt anyone on this blog is an expert (I’m certainly not) when it comes to understanding and interpreting forensic explosives evidence.

    Conversely, North Korea isn’t a puppet government of the CCP, regardless of what some might believe. Do you really think Kim and their military is that pliable? It’s an ally, not a puppet state. There’s no difference between China’s relationship with North Korea and the USA’s relationship with South Korea, except that South Korea is viable economically and the North is not.

    pug_ster: It’s true that Hatoyama promised to have those Marines moved to Guam rather than another base on Okinawa (he did not say anything about getting rid of the US presence in Okinawa, it was just about this one base) but I also remember Obama during his campaign, promising to pull out all US troops from Iraq a few months after he was elected. It’s one thing to promise something when you’re running for office but quite another to deliver on your promise when you’re elected. Once the reality of the situation was made clear, Obama kept those troops in Iraq and Hatoyama allowed the base move in Okinawa. I doubt this situation in North Korea had anything to do with his decision. What might seem simple when you’re out of power becomes quite complex after you’re elected and actually have the responsibility to govern.

  10. r v Says:

    I don’t even remembered the last time NK staged a naval wargame or a land wargame, but SK and US keep having these wargames so close to NK’s sea border. They might as well have a guy on the ship dress up like MacArthur. (NK is probably too poor to even do wargames much. Which explains why they now resort to occasionally set off a nuke test.)

    China’s 1996 wargame (which was called Sabre rattling) was at least 50 miles off the coast of Taiwan. SK’s Cheonan was sunk while in a wargame only about 10 miles off the coast of NK. (which is also where the current wargame is going on).

    Reason for 1 nation to have a wargame: Our 1 nation has good defense.
    Reason for 2 nations to have a wargame: We have 2 armies to your 1.

  11. Charles Liu Says:

    Steve, sudden halting of Okinawa troop withdraw had everything to do with esclating tension in Korea. The troop withdraw was Hatoyama’s election plank, and he had to apologize for reneging AFTER the Cheonan incident:



    Above is the tone AFTER the ship sinking, while prior to that Obama was sticking to moving to Guam per 2006 agreement, while Hatoyama wanted us out even more. Take this Dec 16, 2009 news report as example:


    As recent as March 26 report shows the 8000 marine relocation was still on schedule, proving the sudden halting was due to the incident:


    BTW RV, saw a map on MSNBC, the Cheonan was way north of the disputed zone when it sank. If nothing else it seems to demonstrate provocation.

  12. r v Says:

    Geopolitically, Japan and SK have all the symbolic reason to want to keep US bases for now. mainly, they still want to show the symbolic “alliance” with US. Although, it is very much for show, so is the US symbolic presence as the “military tripwire” against NK. But it is obvious to everyone involved that the people (in Japan, SK, China and US) do not believe that US hold any kind of solutions about NK.

    Incidentally Charles, you should look at the map for Gulf of Tonkin Incident. US warship made similar close maneuvers to the coast of North Vietnam back then too. If China had its naval wargames so close to Taiwan, What would that be called?

  13. Charles Liu Says:

    This blogger has found some smoking gun making the investigation questionable:


    – no one signed the report
    – the recovered parts do not match perfectly as claimed
    – rear housing of the found part matches better to a heavier German-made torpedo, while the lighter NK version without homing capability is less likely to have sanke a ship that size.

  14. Raj Says:

    I’m glad someone has put a post up on this as it is an important issue for not just China but the whole of Asia.

    For many years China has been walking a tightrope in trying to please both countries like Japan, South Korea and the US, whilst also staying reasonably friendly with North Korea and trying to limit the scope of sanctions placed against it. But is this a good idea?

    The true test of whether a country is a “great power”, let alone a fledgling superpower, is whether it can make tough choices in areas like foreign policy. So far I’m not sure what tough choices it has taken in recent memory. Doing things like investing in dodgy countries isn’t tough for China because it doesn’t care how governments treat their own people. When presented with two competing interests China always seems to want to have it both ways. Well, sorry, but eventually you need to pick one side or you will end pleasing neither.

    The feeling in South Korea is that Pyongyang has crossed a line that cannot easily be forgiven. You might say that South Korea needs to remain calm, but that’s easier said than done. Imagine that (as far as you understood) a Japanese submarine had sunk a Chinese frigate for no real reason in a deliberate attack. Would the Chinese government be calling for calm? I doubt it. Chinese people would be screaming for blood. How would they and the Chinese government feel if America dismissed a report produced by experts from China, Russia, Australia, Sweden and the UK showing that it was a Japanese submarine that had carried out the attack? It’s easy to always demand people act calmly when it’s not you who has been attacked.

    I think it’s time for China to choose a side and say in public who they are going to back. If it continues to try to have it both ways it will eventually irrevocably annoy both.

    r v (10)

    I don’t even remembered the last time NK staged a naval wargame or a land wargame, but SK and US keep having these wargames so close to NK’s sea border.

    I would be surprised if North Korea never holds war games, but given its navy is so pathetic and they’re so paranoid they might not want to put its ships on display. But you should get your facts right – the latest SK operation was nowhere near the disputed zone, let alone agreed NK territory.

    Charles (11)

    Steve, sudden halting of Okinawa troop withdraw had everything to do with esclating tension in Korea. The troop withdraw was Hatoyama’s election plank, and he had to apologize for reneging AFTER the Cheonan incident

    Hatoyama made a lot of promises in his election campaign that he hasn’t kept. His manifesto was full of things that were never going to happen. Moving all of the Americans off Okinawa was one of a long list of fantasies. The Americans had done a deal with the previous administration and weren’t going to re-write it just because a new government had promised to get it changed. For months Hatoyama had failed to get anywhere.

    All the North Korean attack has done is finally give him an excuse to say what everyone knew he was eventually going to do anyway.

  15. Legalist Says:

    Admin: I had a typo in the tags. Could please correct “militar conflict” to “military conflict”?

  16. r v Says:


    I said Cheonan sank near the NK coast.

    The ROKS Cheonan sinking occurred on March 26, 2010, when the Cheonan, a South Korean Navy ship carrying 104 personnel, sank off the country’s west coast near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea.


    Baengnyeong island is the island on the left of the map, in reddish brown color.

    One only has to look at the map to see how close Cheonan was to NK coast line. Hmmm… Can’t pick a better place than some island REALLY close to NK mainland, but really far away from SK mainland?

  17. Raj Says:

    r v (16)

    I’ll quote you again and highlight the relevant section.

    I don’t even remembered the last time NK staged a naval wargame or a land wargame, but SK and US keep having these wargames so close to NK’s sea border.

    The Cheonan was not taking part in wargames, it was on patrol. And I’ve confirmed that the latest SK wargames were nowhere near undisputed North Korean waters, so why were you complaining about them?

    One only has to look at the map to see how close Cheonan was to NK coast line. Hmmm… Can’t pick a better place than some island REALLY close to NK mainland, but really far away from SK mainland?

    The Cheonan was to the south-west of the island, within South Korean waters. South Korean ships have a right to patrol their own waters regardless of whether they’re of the mainland or around a small island!

  18. Charles Liu Says:

    Good for you, China:


    “China not assigning blame in S. Korea sinking”

    As if we haven’t learned our lesson with the yellowcake and WMD. It comes down to credibility, and I for one am weary of it.

    RV, Raj is wrong. The sinking occured in disputed western waters in North Korea

  19. Raj Says:



    Either North Korea did it or it didn’t. Why can’t China just come out and say whether it agrees with the report or thinks it lacks credibility and cannot be trusted? Doesn’t it understand that if it keeps trying to have its cake and eat it relations with a number of countries will be damaged? At least have the guts to say “we trust North Korea more than we trust you”.

  20. jxie Says:

    There have been a few maritime shoot-outs in the past and SK was victorious. The main problem is that there is no agreed maritime border between the 2. The armistice line only covers the land, not the sea. If you look at this map, NK’s position seems to be:

    * the maritime border should be the extension of the armistice line.
    * SK’s occupation of a few islands north of that border is an accomplished fact.

    SK’s position seems to be:

    * the maritime border should be between NK’s land assets and SK’s land assets.

    If you look at it dispassionately, NK’s position is far from out of whack. Actually in real-life conflicts between nations, and SK is no stranger to that notion in its dealing with its neighbors, a position can be taken by NK to request those several islands to be returned to NK based on the spirit of the original armistice agreement.

    Anyway, this is one powder keg that can go off anytime. I am sort of surprised there are so far only a few shoot-outs.

  21. Charles Liu Says:

    jxie, the fundamental truth is our “party line” belies the fact western water is, at a minimum disputed territory.

    Basically, when the NK ship was hit by SK last year near the northern limit line (something imposed by US military, not in Armistice or UN mediation), nobody said SK attacked NK in NK territory.

    China is looking at the larger context, doing all it can to de-esclate the conflict, IMHO completely rational, and should be applauded.

    Its completely debatable where these two incident occurred, and it’s wrong for my country (US) to use this as pretext to manufacture conflict in the region. Even the MO is identical to Iraq – go to UN, bully our way to some stuff, than charge ahead guns blazing.

    No more, says this American.

    “fool me once, shame on you; fool me again… well, you see, if you are fooled once, you can’t be fooled again.”
    — George W Bush

  22. Raj Says:

    No more, says this American.

    Charles, are you really an American? Because I get the feeling you see yourself as being Chinese first and foremost. What exactly are you proud of about being American? I can’t remember many times you’ve had anything good to say about your country of real significance.

    You just seem to use your nationality (assuming you are an American citizen) as a reason to make your criticism somehow more significant – “look at me, I’m an American who doesn’t like American policy”. If you were even-handed in your support and criticism of what America does it might be significant, but given you’re generally negative it really does seem silly when you keep prattling on about being “American”.

  23. Charles Liu Says:

    i will not be drawn into personal attack, and ask editor/admin to review comment 22.

  24. Legalist Says:

    Raj’s personal attack on Charles is deplorable and it shouldn’t be allowed. He should apologize. Raj should be taken off the list of writers and contrbutors.

  25. Charles Liu Says:

    Legalist, this is your article, you make the editorial call. I’ll just settle for Raj’s cyber-bullying to stop.

  26. ChinkTalk Says:

    Legalist, I will second Charles Liu, just make Raj stop. Raj is the only one making a fool of himself.

    I believe in freedom of expression eventhough I do not agree with anthing Raj says. He should be allowed to contribute and say whatever he wants. Even if he is threatening terrorism. We are not going to shut him up nor lock him up.

    Maybe he should just apologize if he wants to.

  27. S. K. Cheung Says:

    Actually, Charles’ nationality has no bearing whatsoever…unless of course he was a CHinese citizen in China, which would then have some added relevance considering the subject matter of this blog. That notwithstanding, he would otherwise represent one opinion, and one opinion only, just like everybody else.

  28. r v Says:

    Frankly, NK’s trouble trace back to many regional problems that are shared by SK, China and Japan, and most of these problem must be resolve by these regional powers without US’s help, if any peace is to ultimately come:

    (1) many border disputes between NK, SK, China and Japan, especially over resource rich islands. US’s policy is more about stalling and playing the parties against each other on the border disputes.

    (2) Japan’s WWII atrocity issue. NK, SK, and China all refuse to let go of this issue. So it’s not just some small thing that can be forgotten over time. Fundamentally, even without NK, SK and China would still have problems with Japan.

    (3) NK’s ultimate future. The problem is there is no realistic plan for NK’s future, and the status quo is obviously not working. Longer we go, NK’s economic situation will get worse, consequentially, its military problem will get worse.

    I believe, China should attempt to get involved (especially in the vacuum left by the aimless US policies), precisely because China has substantial amount of stake in the outcome of many of these fundamentally issues. (NK will undoubtedly want to settle these issues with SK and Japan, thus, China should not allow these issues to be settled without at least some Chinese participation.) Furthermore, if China can find a solution to all these issues (or at least some acceptable compromise that is negotiated), then it will stand to gain influence and prestige.

    However, at this point, China has the incentive to be involved, but too many other distractions. China is attempting to develop its influence all around the world rapidly all at once, and NK issues are being neglected. China should seek to refocus its diplomatic efforts on the NK issues.

  29. r v Says:

    I see nothing wrong with Charles making a personal opinion about himself, his view as a US citizen. If his opinions are without foundation or logic, then critique on his foundation or logic. That’s far different than making generalized personal opinions about other people based upon their citizenship.

  30. Wukailong Says:

    As for Raj’s comment, it’s a gray area. If Charles is using his nationality as part of the argument (and he seems to be, at times), then you could certainly question that. If not, then the comment is not necessary.

    I began reading this blog some time in the fall of 2008, and I’ve seen much worse than this that never got collapsed (and neither do I think they should have been). Allen is a good example in this regard – he’ve had some stuff like that thrown at him, and he responded to it civilly. Asking for moderation for something that contains no belittling terms or curses seems a bit exaggerated to me.

    Of course, the author of this article seems to disagree, so he can make the call as he sees fit. These are just some thoughts of mine.

  31. HKer Says:

    Like a bad habit dropped, I stopped visiting many intolerant expat China-basher blogs when I found FM the first couple of weeks it went online. I remember Raj would never give a direct answer to those who asked of his race or ethnicity – only that he was a Brit.
    Now Charles is being vilified for “using his nationality as part of the argument.” Why ? Is it because Charles has a Chinese last name and isn’t gungho about the actions of his country?
    Yet, I agree with WKL, “Allen is a good example in this regard – he’ve had some stuff like that thrown at him, and he responded to it civilly.”

  32. Steve Says:

    @ Legalist #15: Done

    @ Legalist #24: This is your post so you have editorial leeway in how you want to control the discussion. I collapsed Raj’s comment based on your decision. If you want me to collapse any other comments, please let me know.

  33. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Hker:
    I would respectfully disagree. I’ve been around here almost as long as you have, and I do recall people asking Raj about his background in the beginning. I never saw the relevance, but it was up to Raj as to what he wanted to disclose. But unless he was using his ethnicity or his nationality as part of his argument, there was no reason to question his background.

    On the other hand, Charles could’ve said: “no more, says this guy”; or “no more, says this blogger”. Does the fact that Charles (claims that he) is American (who know who Charles is…this is the internet, after all) supposed to somehow lend extra weight to his opposition to US foreign policy? If it does, then he is trading on his “american-ness”. If he’s doing that, then it seems fair game to examine the nature of that american-ness. This has nothing to do with his last name (at least what he claims to be his last name). The issue would be the same if he was Charles Smith.

    There are rules here. Raj didn’t address Charles’ argument. But to me, he wasn’t disparaging Charles as a person either. He was questioning Charles’ style of argument as it pertains to the use of his nationality. I think most of us are adults here. There’s no need to achieve an R rating to make a point; but most people should be able to tolerate something beyond a G.

  34. ChinkTalk Says:

    Raj is someone who can give it but cannot take it.

    He’s made personal attacks against me before and it had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    I refused to attack him in retaliation because I didn’t want to stoop to that level.

  35. Raj Says:

    ChinkTalk, your name can be considered racist by some, should you really be pointing the finger at me? But what personal attacks have I made against you? As for Charles, Wukailong and SKC have indicated why I made the comment. Charles refers to his nationality as part of his argument.

    I take whatever criticisms you make about my comments.

  36. Legalist Says:

    Steve #32: thank you. I’ve been absent from this blog for I don’t know how long. I like this new editorial control feature.

    Steve #2: I think my conclusions or more precisely, my views, are concensus views, provided by many analysts as reasons why China will not act in concert with the Americans and South Koreans.

  37. Josef Says:

    Raj, in 19, I think you got the point. That what NK want, that China comes out. This is the calculated risk which NK took into account. The chances, that the (Maoist) line within the CCP wins, in case the west reacts to strong are big, and with that NK secures again Chinese support.

    Charles, your reference link in 13 is interesting, but I was just trying to analyze who could profit at the end. I do not see any gain for the U.S. with a new conflict. I agree with your statement in 21:
    “China is looking at the larger context, doing all it can to de-escalate the conflict, IMHO completely rational, and should be applauded.”
    but I absolutely disagree that,
    “and it’s wrong for my country (US) to use this as pretext to manufacture conflict in the region”
    [although I am not American, as a joke, to lower the tension]
    I do not see any reason or gain why the U.S. and (nearly) the rest of the world wants to manufacture a conflict.
    I think this (still potential) conflict is in the interest of NK.

  38. ChinkTalk Says:


    *** Raj Says:

    May 28th, 2010 at 7:29 am
    ChinkTalk, your name can be considered racist by some, should you really be pointing the finger at me?

    Raj, I didn’t know that my name is “considered racist by some”, would you please explain that to me, why is it that my name is “considered racist by some”.

  39. Legalist Says:

    From wikipedia:

    Chink or sometimes Chinki is a racial slur to a person of Chinese or any East Asian descent.


  40. r v Says:

    As I wrote last week, South Korean government is cracking down on “rumor spreaders” in SK regarding the sinking of Cheonan. More than 10 cases are being investigated by the SK government prosecutors. This is rather paranoid for a Democratic government with supposedly clear evidence of NK guilt.

  41. Charles Liu Says:

    And I feel China has acted more responsibly to not esclate the conflict.

    The hypocrisy on our part is just so appearant. This and the 2009 incidents both occured in Korea’s disputed western waters, yet treated very differently by western government and media. It’s basically party-line response, that 2009 NK was in SK water (never mind it’s disputed)so the attack was justified, yet this year it’s taken to the UN and met with immediate military threat via war exercises.

    The Northern Limit Line is something imposed unilatterally by the US military and disputed by NK is a fact, and as this Slate article found from above link shows, our media has neglected to metion SK/NK has been at it in the disputed water for some times:


    “Though it was little noted in U.S. news reports, the maritime border between North Korea and South Korea—known as the Northern Limit Line—has been a frequent scene of naval clashes and confrontations over the last decade.

    this much is known: The Northern Limit Line, which Pyongyang’s vessels have frequently crossed, is not exactly an artifact of international law. It was drawn in 1953 by the U.S. military forces that led the wartime United Nations Command; it wasn’t officially recognized by North Korea; nor was it mentioned in the 1953 Armistice Agreement”

    So why should this be any different than the 2009 incident where NK got its a$$ handed to them? For one we have a pretext to not move out of Japan.

  42. r v Says:

    I think China will likely attempt to get the peace talks going again, but if that fails, China will just seal the border, stand back, and let them fight it out. No point in stopping people who really want to go at each other. If South Korea really want to deal with the consequences of war, refugees, in a head long confrontation with a zealous NK military, China should just say, “China is out, see you after Armageddon!” (Or quote the movie “Princess Bride”: So long boys, have fun storming the castle!)

  43. HKer Says:

    # 33


    “and I do recall people asking Raj about his background in the beginning. I never saw the relevance, …He was questioning Charles’ style of argument as it pertains to the use of his nationality…..

    “This has nothing to do with his last name”

    SKC, You are absolutely right – it has NO relevance.
    Therefore my point was, take heed not to do to others what one doesn’t want others to do the same to oneself.”
    To each their own whether be beliefs, biases & styles – these are personal choices unlike ethnicity and often times nationality.

    Here, I respectfully disagree…IMHO it has everything to do with his last name (ethnicity) in relation to his less than proud comment in question of his country’s foreign policy – Besides, Charle’ comment in question is not invalid. Fact is, such has for awhile now been a rather common sentiment among US citizen, not to mention the international community at large, albeit for a much longer time….

    Finally, it is precisely because of Charles’ ethnicity that he has to in the following statement clarify “my country” as US with “(US).”

    ” it’s wrong for my country (US) to use this as pretext to manufacture conflict in the region. Even the MO is identical to Iraq – go to UN, bully our way to some stuff, than charge ahead guns blazing.”


    # 42
    r v

    “So long boys, have fun storming the castle!”

    Ha-ha, or as Westley said: “We are men of action, lies do not become us.”

  44. Otto Kerner Says:

    I don’t think “China is out, see you after Armageddon!” is a very realistic attitude. A hot war with North Korea vs. South Korea and the U.S. would be a disaster for China. Fallout from the nuclear weapons would waft profusely into Dongbei, for one thing. For another, when the dust settles, there would be American military bases on China’s northeastern border.

  45. r v Says:

    “North Korea is the place where the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz came from.” – Lewis Black, comedian.

    “North Korea is so evil, that the film footage we get from there has no color. And it’s not the film. They are so evil, they have no color. That’s how evil they are, and you don’t F*** with that kind of evil.” – Lewis Black.

  46. r v Says:

    “A hot war with North Korea vs. South Korea and the U.S. would be a disaster for China. Fallout from the nuclear weapons would waft profusely into Dongbei, for one thing.”

    Seal the border, evacuate the civilians near the border if Nukes are used.

    “For another, when the dust settles, there would be American military bases on China’s northeastern border.”

    In the nuclear fallout? That I would like to see. My guess is, nobody will want to go near that glass parking lot. South Korea and US can have all the glory salvaging what’s left of Korea. (China’s help has gotten China nothing but flak. I say China just sit back and start criticizing US’s handling of the matter once the war breaks out.)

  47. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To RV #45:
    those are funny quotes from Black. Every time he speaks he looks like he’s about to have a stroke. Haven’t seen him much lately on the Daily Show.

  48. Buru Says:

    1.Is it possible a leftover sea mine from 1950s did it?

    2.Is it possible mercenaries were used by NK/US/other interested parties in view of reports that the ‘torpedo’ appeared to be an obsolete German design?

    3.It does not reflect greatly on the ‘free’ Western press when they simply print all their reports as ‘NK torpedoed SK ship’ when we dont have a truly independent report.

    4.NK is quite capable of doing it too– a little bit of attention always got them scraps from the SKoreans in the past.This time they could have miscalculated.

    5.The episode also reflects poorly on the SK navys proficiency.

    6.China is caught between 2 equally unpleasant choices here; pity them.

  49. Raj Says:


    Besides, Charle’ comment in question is not invalid. Fact is, such has for awhile now been a rather common sentiment among US citizen, not to mention the international community at large, albeit for a much longer time

    What comment are you talking about, the “no more” one? Because my entire point is that Charles never says anything positive about his own country. So saying “no more” is a complete fib, as he’s just regurgitating his long-standing political position – America = bad, countries America is in dispute with = good.

    He most certainly has a right to criticise America (regardless of his nationality), but even I – coming from a country not nearly as patriotic as the US – expect to see a person to sometimes defend his/her own country.

  50. Raj Says:

    Otto (44) makes an excellent point. If anyone thinks it would be funny to sit back and see another Korean war, the fact that China might not get involved won’t protect it. The war would be extremely brutal at the start but the North Koreans would lose. The South Koreans would move into the North and need American help to bolster their defences.

    But, hey, if China can live with American bases not that far away from its borders, no worries.


    Buru (48)

    1. It would depend on whether a mine would create the exact (not just similar) same explosion and whether one could expect the mine likely to still be working.

    I’m not an engineer, from what I understand mines were usually teathered such that they would be not very far under the water – ergo a ship would strike one on the bow or sides. But reportedly the explosion happened undernearth the ship. Would a mine have been tied so far down underneath the water?

    2. Mercanaries were used to do what, blow the ship up? I doubt it, there’d be nothing to stop them leaking the “real” information for a price.

    3. That’s just silly. Who is really “independent” in this world and has all the expertise? If it was just America who wrote the report, ok you might have a point. I could even go along with South Korea, despite the fact they’d want to know the truth about who killed their people. But an international conspiracy with the UK, Australia and Sweden signing up – pull the other one.

    5. Why? The ship was on patrol by itself in South Korean waters. Not every ship has perfect ASW defences, especially if special forces (e.g. mini-subs) are involved. And the corvette didn’t have a towed sonar array.

  51. Buru Says:


    1.The ship was in open sea and retrieved in more than 1 piece;so expecting ‘exact’ explosion patterns whatever that means would be naive.Moreover I dont think anyone tested a NK silkworm on a SK corvette before..also I would expect a Torpedo to hit the sides above/below water level, not beneath but we will leave it to the experts.
    Sea mines can be tethered or free magnetic mines. Even tethered ones can break free and float right? re duration eg would be the guy from US who was blown up a couple of years back when he was cleaning up a Civil War shell dug up from the ground!

    2. I dont believe it myself..but in view of someone quoting Gulf of Tonkin thought it might be not an impossible thingy..

    3.You misconstrued me as having ascribed an international conspiracy… I was just putting across my disappointment at the use of unregulated language by the ‘free’ press which can be seen to be taking sides.

    5.why not? you are technically at war, every couple years you have a naval standoff/fight, you have a war exercise going-on bang at the moment, you are patrolling not on holiday, you are right next to the border, you possess some of the latest in military gizmos with economic muscle to train on it, your enemy is relatively low-tech…and you get blown out of the water without any idea of what hit you forget about defense/attack ; what else is there to say?

  52. Otto Kerner Says:

    Although one could say that the people of Korea owe the U.S. a debt of gratitude for helping them defend themselves against Kim Il-sung in the past, I do think that American involvement in Korea has become a harmful factor, as far as the long-term is concerned. The problem is that nobody, including the Chinese, likes the North Korean government, but China cannot accept a reunification under the Republic of Korea as long as the Republic of Korea is such a close ally of the United States. That would create the danger of American military bases on the Yalu River.

    The most practical solution to the North Korea issue would be for the Kim Jong-il government to be overthrown and replaced with a Chinese client government. I am envisioning an arrangement in which the North would formally become part of the Republic of Korea, but with a special autonomous “transitional” “socialist” government which would be de facto controlled by China. The PRC political system is not wonderful, but it’s 100 times better than the one that rules North Korea currently. Hopefully, restrictions on travel between South Korea and the “transitional autonomous zone” of the North would be minimal, but they would certainly be less than at present. This arrangement could be continued as long as China considers necessary, with the stated promise of eventual integration into ROK system in the indefinite future.

    However, American influence in South Korea is so strong that it’s hard to see how that arrangement — or any other such ROK-China modus vivendi — could be made without American approval. So, in practice, the U.S. is standing in the way of settling the Korea issue and improving the lives of the people unfortunate enough to live in North Korea.

  53. HKer Says:


    Here’s something good that happened in USA for some immigrants:

    “It’s truly a magnificent affirmation of American values and justice,” Judge Corriero said. “It’s taken a little while for us to get here. But today demonstrates what can be done when so many people see the way to justice, in a situation that was crying out for it.”

  54. ChinkTalk Says:

    I have never been to South Korea so I don’t know how the people there feel about the Americans. But from the Koreans that I know here in British Columbia, they don’t like the Americans much. They seem to be much in tuned with China. There are quite a number of mariages between Koreans and Mainland Chinese. Some Koreans know how to write Chinese but they don’t speak it. So you would see them reading Chinese newspapers and commenting with each other in Korean. It’s kind of funny.

  55. No99 Says:

    In today’s world, American politics in the Korean peninsula does need to change. There is no way both South and North Korea to not move closer to China. It’s a cynical viewpoint but very true. Same thing with the rest of Asia.

    I have to agree with Otto in this case. Any reunification of the two Koreas will be heavily involved by China. For better or for worst, who knows.

    How can one every have lasting peace and prosperity if one can’t have some level of decent relations with your neighbor? It’s not sustaining.

    The thing is that many people are using the American military just as much as the American government “thinks” it is using other people. There are plenty of soldiers and American citizens that have decent intentions, most of the time it’s just a way to make a living. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, everyone else is making use of the Americans for a variety of reasons, but the most obvious one is it’s a huge piece of muscle against the PRC. The Asian countries use the US against other nations but the most significant one is China. The PLA is nowhere near as advance and sophisticated as the US, for now, however it doesn’t have to be to accomplish their primary goals.

  56. Raj Says:

    Buru (51)

    Just because countries like China are not convinced (or maye don’t want to be convinced as that would require them to come off the fence) does not mean other countries, and more importantly parts of those countries, cannot be convinced by the evidence so far presented. There is no requirement for them to sit on the fence because some people refuse to accept the fact/assertion that North Korea was involved.

    North Korea is not going to admit to having done this (unless it’s forced to come clean), so what other evidence can make it “official” that it was a North Korean attack? China’s endorsement? Clearly not. So it boils down to who the media believes, and I’m afraid that with a report compiled by professionals from a range of different countries backing up the position of the South Korean government, stacked against the paranoid rants of a regime that has lied time and time again, they WILL take sides because that’s the natural thing for anyone to do.

    In regards to the ASW issue, could you tell me how much it would cost for every South Korean ship to have a towed sonar array? Because no country in the world can afford such an expense, yet it’s the only way to be reasonably sure. There is no affordable “gizmo” that gives you reliable protection against submarines, conventional or mini.

    This could have been a Chinese, Japanese, British or American ship – the result probably would have been the same.


    Otto (52)

    You’re both right and wrong about American involvement in South Korea. It is hard for China to accept re-unification as things stand with America there. But America can’t do much differently until the South Koreans want the relationship to change.

    During the Bush administration, the American military tried to hand over military responsibility for the forces in South Korea to the SK leadership. But the South Koreans blocked that because they (at the time) preferred to have the Americans running the show.

    South Korea still spends less than 3% of GDP on defence. They could spend more and do without so much American help, but they prefer to delegate part of the responsibility for their own defence to the US. What should the US do, “insist” that SK increase its budget? That’s intefering in SK affairs. They can’t pull out unilaterally. So they’re stuck there for the moment.

    Also I question whether China wants re-unification with a democratic South Korea in charge at all. Not because I’m sure that it opposes it totally, more that I’m not convinced it would want to see it happen. Currently South Korea has part of its attention taken away from “the big picture” due to concerns about the North. If that concern went away, China might have another regional power that could check its military/diplomatic growth in Asia. Not to suggest that South Korea is idle on foreign affairs, but it would be freer to act if the North Korean problem no longer existed.

    A Chinese invasion/coup in North Korea would also cause trouble, as the South Koreans do not trust the Chinese to leave peacefully and let reunification happen. I’m not going to go into it (unless people express complete ignorance of it and insist I’m lying), but the information is out there.

  57. HKer Says:

    An independent Canadian think tank, argues that North Korea is more prey than a predator.

    “North Korea is portrayed in the international media as a threat to global security, but there is absolutely no evidence to that effect. On the other hand, North Korea is the only country in the world that has lost up to a quarter of its population in recent history…”

    Here’s a non-Main stream media point of view – Watch the new clip Video


  58. Legalist Says:

    Otto @52: I think you’re right about China’s hesitation about reunification or replacing the current Kim family regime. China needs an arrangement before it can act. I don’t see the Americans as the main obstacle to peace. I see South Koreans as their own worst enemy. Sixty years later they still let Americans be in charge of their military. They lack realistic long term planning. They are paranoid the intentions of every Chinese action or nonaction which paralyzes their ability to reach a modus vivendi with China. Every small country with a big neighbor needs a modus vivendi. Basically, China is waiting and seeing what south korea’s plan for the long term big picture.

  59. Raj Says:

    “North Korea is portrayed in the international media as a threat to global security, but there is absolutely no evidence to that effect.”

    Right, so flouting UN regs and lying to the world to get nuclear weapons, defying UN sanctions and threatening nuclear war is not evidence of being a threat to global security. Hmm, well I suppose there’s something to be said….

    Who am I kidding, what a bunch of nonsense! Who is the moron that wrote that?

  60. Buru Says:

    Raj #56

    well, if a committee of experts including the experts from opposing parties as well as neutral ones gives a report that NK torpedoes conclusively blew up the corvette I would have expected the media to take the unambiguous line that NK torpedoes did it.I am yet to see such a process.

    re the naval incident did you read my point in full? presuming its a NK torpedo its not simply a case of the SK corvette not carrying ASW sonars.During a war games bang @ the border with a nation u are at war with you, you get blown up by a torpedo and requires a month of joining together the pieces to find out what hit you.The SKN had no intelligence on NK submarine presence, it had no idea a missile was streaming at you, it had no defense to it even if it was forewarned, SKN did not notice anything unusual even after the event…so its a poor reflection on the SKN. If it happens with any other country its a poor reflection on that nations military as well ( eg would be Israeli naval corvette hit by Hizbollah in 2006, but atleast they knew what hit them )

    Otto52 :

    My take on solving the Korea issue would be for the US to pull out of the peninsula after getting NK to destroy its nuke capacity ,to Japan/Guam while still giving military assistance/guarantees to SK from there. This would make all 3 protagonists relaxed–NK/SK/PRC. Thereafter the NK on its own will prob take a China-like route to modernity, or if not, the PRC should nudge it towards that. Once the US is away from Korean soil I have a feeling the Chinese would be the most interested in making NK economically prosperous. Its the US and not communism which is making China give oxygen to NK.

  61. pug_ster Says:

    China sees pluses and minuses between North and South Korea. South Korea is China’s economic ally but does not political interests. North Korea on the other hand affects China’s sovereignty but not economic interests. China has been trying to talk to KJI into developing a market economy and but KJI doesn’t seem to be interested. However China sees even a bigger danger of SK conservatives and the US want to overthrow the North Korean government have South Korea to take over instead of an ‘peaceful reunification.’ So China is in an no-win situation in regards and have to keep the NK government alive and keep the status quo and not do anything about it.

  62. pug_ster Says:

    @Otto Kerner 52,

    I agree with you in the first paragraph but I disagree that China should overthrow North Korea because it violates what China should do. If China decides to invade North Korea, China will be seen as a invader and sees itself disrupting Korea’s interests. I think China should go to the UN and try to have a resolution to push for a peace treaty between the 2 Koreas and have both Koreas join together for a power treaty between them without China or US involvement.

  63. Otto Kerner Says:

    I agree that it would be a bad idea for China to stage a ground invasion of North Korea. That’s not what I was envisioning. Regime change would be accomplished by refusing to offer any support to the Kim Jong-il government and by active support for any friendly elements in the North Korean government willing to stage a coup.

    I don’t think the North Korean public is on the verge of insurrection against their government or anything like that, but I also don’t think they love it so much that they would do much to defend it against a coup supported by their traditional ally. After the fact, their economic condition would improve rapidly, which would result in a lot of popular support for the new government.

  64. Raj Says:

    Buru (56)

    well, if a committee of experts including the experts from opposing parties as well as neutral ones gives a report that NK torpedoes conclusively blew up the corvette I would have expected the media to take the unambiguous line that NK torpedoes did it.I am yet to see such a process

    No such committee has presented a report. In the absense of that the media has to work with what it has. And South Korea, Sweden, Australia and the UK (even if you leave out the US) is good enough for most people. Besides, North Korea is never going to admit to its own crimes, and China clearly doesn’t want to believe North Korea did it because that reality is too hard for it to cope with.

    North Korea is one of the most secretative states in the world. If there’s anywhere it’s hard to get intelligence it’s there.

    Sorry, what defences to stop the torpedo? What cheap “gizmo” is thefre that’s proven against deflecting torpedoes?

    As for who did it, come on the South Koreans pretty much knew who was behind it. But the last thing they were going to do is accuse North Korea of actively torpedoeing their ship without conclusive evidence. Waiting until after the report had verified what they suspected was the smart thing to do. They want international support. If they’d accused North Korea and then organised the investigation they’d have been accused of manufacturing evidence to come to the conclusion they wanted.

    pug_ster (61)

    want to overthrow the North Korean government have South Korea to take over instead of an ‘peaceful reunification.

    Reunification would mean South Korea taking over. They’re the only ones with the money, education and technology to make it work. A unified Korea could have only one political system and that would be democracy. A mad, xenophobic Stalinist party would have no place in a new Korean government.

  65. Jason Says:


    Don’t believe anything the US and their anonymous “investigators” who has no name and face says.

    Propeller of the torpedo don’t match at all. The complete dismissing that the torpedo is a German origin is suspicious.


  66. Wukailong Says:

    Don’t believe anything the US and their anonymous “investigators” say. It’s better to put your trust into some random people on the Internet who carried out their own high-quality investigation based on news reports and picture comparison. In the same vein, don’t trust the Western media unless part of it happens to agree with your viewpoint, in which case you can use the article to argue against the Western media as a whole. Foolproof!

    And while we’re at it, weren’t the perpetrators behind 911 the US government?


  67. Jason Says:

    At least I can identify who wrote it instead of looking at anonymous investigators that has not even signed the report.

    @ And while we’re at it, weren’t the perpetrators behind 911 the US government?

    Maybe or maybe not. But Bin Laden was US proxy until 9/11 is very, very interesting.

  68. Wukailong Says:

    “At least I can identify who wrote it instead of looking at anonymous investigators that has not even signed the report”

    Fair enough but do you treat police reports the same way? Would you trust my investigation of the Kennedy murder more than the one carried out by FBI, just because it has my name on it? 😉

  69. Jason Says:


    You mean the Warren Commission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Warren_commission_cover.jpg

    At least it is signed but a foreword to the last edition of the commission’s report, A Presidential Legacy and The Warren Commission has complicated the original commission.

    So I’ll wait to draw my own conclusions of the Korea conflict.

    To those who think the investigative report is conclusive, there’s a major gap that is still unanswered.

  70. Buru Says:


    you are repeatedly picking up isolated points and stretching it to prove that the SKN was performing normally. I am seeing the complete sequence of events to say their performance was not par.And nobody spoke of ‘ cheap’ gizmos except yourself.If you are talking about anti-torpedo measures there are plenty, from avoidance to active engagement of a launched missile.

    No such committee has presented a report” end of argument then…your logic reeks of the ‘allies’ argument before the Iraq invasion.
    You also seems to know a lot of the secret internal workings of both North and South Korea &China that the rest of us are not privy to..

  71. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Some people are hesitant about believing “anonymous investigators”, but have no trouble believing a guy called willyloman who is quoting a guy named Scott Creighton. I’m assuming those are their real names, cuz one of the first things you learn about the internet is that people use their real names in order to slice through that veil of anonymity.

    “So I’ll wait to draw my own conclusions of the Korea conflict.”
    —doesn’t that go without saying? If people want to believe a couple of bloggers with funky theories, power to them.

  72. Jason Says:

    willyloman is Scott Creighton.

  73. HKer Says:

    “War can easily happen, by accident or design. South Koreans are nervous. Americans are nervous. Japanese are nervous. And others are nervous, too. Everyone is looking to China to bring the North Koreans to their sense.”

    May I beg all your pardon, boys and girls, but has anyone answered the question, Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?

    Um, Yes? Appearantly in good Holistic, Civilized and Non-Trigger Happy manners.
    Millions of lives are at stack here, not to mention the instant and long term grandscale ecological destruction that war brings.

    Yet, somewhere I hear the asinine cry of a halfwit on this very thread calling good people morons – Even well credential people who are trying to tell the world to think again, to consider – to not jump the gun AGAIN and repeat the historical Blair/Bush WMD Mega-screw up – which was indeed either that or a conspiracy, no?

  74. Josef Says:

    HK, “Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?”, actually yes, I wrote so before.
    I hope that China remains cool blooded, as she is until now, and realize that the whole story was manufactured from NK to manipulate Chinese internal decision making (concerning the relation NK/China) and the Chinese public opinion on NK. Recently there were strange entries in China Daily, concerning or about NK, the most fantastic one about the solving of the technical problems on nuclear fusion (surprisingly on their leaders birthday..). The other day China Daily corrected herself on this GLP style message. Some PR team wanted to polish NK’s image.
    NK still hopes on some unreasonable action from the west to make themselves looking peace-loving and as a victim while the rest of the world aggressive. And it also fits that the proof is difficult and allows different solutions, as well as NK’s overreaction when first words were out.
    The most effective punishment to NK would be that their plan backfires, and instead reassuring Chinas help the ruling class of NK find itself investigated and questioned by China.

    I admit the theory is vage and sounds like a conspiracy, but it is the only explanation which makes sense to me.

  75. Katie Says:

    Hi LC,

    Here is the link to the Newsy video on China’s indecision over North Korea. I hope you will take a few minutes to embed and comment on it.

    Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

    Newsy.com videos analyze and synthesize news coverage from multiple sources. Its unique method of showing how different media cover the news helps viewers better understand complex stories.

  76. admin Says:

    South Korea broadened efforts Monday to convince the world and its own public that North Korea sank one of its warships, sharing evidence with Russian torpedo experts and preparing a special briefing for influential bloggers and Twitter personalities.

    One day after China refused to take a stand against North Korea over the March 26 sinking of South Korea’s Cheonan naval ship, South Korea appears to be moderating its rhetoric against the North over the Cheonan sinking.

  77. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jason,
    looks like Mr. Creighton has some 9/11 theories as well. He’s either an expert in airplane explosion-induced steel structural failure and in near-shore sinkings of military naval vessels, or he’s an expert in making theories.

  78. Jason Says:


    Well, if not by Bush’s 9/11 commission report of the suspicious behaviors and conflict between the commissioners and CIA, Pentagon, and various government organization, there wouldn’t be any conspiracy theories and doubt, wouldn’t it?

    Creighton’s 9/11 report has no relevance to this matter. Your attempt to sidetrack his report to his 9/11 beliefs is a epic failure.

  79. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Ummm, dude, I’m not trying to talk about his 9/11 report. I’m pointing out that he’s either an expert in widely disparate things, in order to have legitimate and learned opinions about 9/11 AND the Cheonan sinking, or his expertise is confined to the concoction of conspiracy theories. I basically said it already in #77, but for you, I’ll say it again.

  80. Wukailong Says:

    In these discussions there always seems to be a hidden assumption that anybody who accepts the version of the mainstream media in a certain discussion supports the US. Not true – I don’t. I was against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ve never been a fan of the military adventures of the US the last century. But I am able to keep two thoughts in my head at the same time, namely, that the US destabilizes the Middle East (and other places) and North Korea destabilizes the Korean peninsula and the situation in South East Asia as a whole.

    There is no reason to portray NK of today as a victim of aggression. Korea as a whole was a victim in the Korean war. North Korea of today has lost the reason for its ideology, but unlike China, it doesn’t act on it, and for China it’s mostly a strain on the nerves (but the only thing that’s between it and US military bases).

    Having said that, I think China did the right thing by not publicly condemning NK. Obviously it has softened South Korea’s stance quite a bit, and it won’t lead the war. It will lead to what it was probably intended for in the first place – as a way for NK to yet again draw the world’s attention. In a couple of years’ time, I’m sure it will get even more food aid than it used to. It simply thrives on these conflicts, and need one from time to time.

  81. HKer Says:

    In these discussions there always seems to be a hidden assumption that anybody who accepts the version of the mainstream media in a certain discussion supports the US. Not true – I don’t.


    GOOD Point !

    Having said that, I think China did the right thing by not publicly condemning NK. Obviously it has softened South Korea’s stance quite a bit, and it won’t lead the war.

    EXCELLENT point !


    # 79

    Good point. Hm, but then it’s just more Conjecture on someone who seems to be making a name for doing the same. Everyone seems to claim to KNOW or believe they already have the answer to this and that – based on something they happen to have come upon – How I always feel sorry for these humorless individuals ….Heck, why not sharpen ones argument and enjoy the imagination and curiousity in the process? Who and what are we protecting anyway? Reading one more expert or nut job on any matter ain’t gonna turn one, will it? But if it does, then perhaps one ought to take that path. Afterall, isn’t it mostly true that “No proof is ever enough to convince the doubtful nor will the lack of proof dissuade the ardent believer.” ?

    Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: By Prof David Ray Griffin

    # 74 Josef,

    Appreciate your reponse. Cheers.

    “Should China Ensure Order In Its Neighborhood?”, actually yes, I wrote so before.
    I hope that China remains cool blooded, as she is until now, and realize that the whole story was manufactured from NK to manipulate Chinese internal decision making (concerning the relation NK/China) and the Chinese public opinion on NK.

  82. Wukailong Says:

    The Korean question seems a bit like Israel/Palestine: for a while, people on both sides begin to open up and talk to each other. More moderate leaders come to the fore and there is hope for a breakthrough. Then for whatever reason, the fragile process is destroyed by something and it’s close to war again.

    The reason this process isn’t playing itself out across the Taiwan straits is, I believe, that there’s a strong economic incentive to keep the conflict low-key. Both sides will attempt to use it for domestic gains, but only for a short while, and then it will continue to thaw.

  83. No99 Says:

    This is off topic but I was wondering if you all think that China can be any significance to the Israel/Palestine issue, considering what’s been in the news lately?

  84. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    I certainly do not object to other people’s right to their own opinion. And if their opinion is to have the desire to subscribe to conspiracy theories, then power to them. What interested me here is that they would forsake a multinational investigation for the theories of some guy, who, if nothing else, seems to keep himself busy by making theories. But again, that they would choose one over the other is their business. I’m just really curious as to how they came to such a judgment. So far, it seems such criteria include a guy having a name, a website, and/or having a theory that is signed. Discerning criteria, to be sure. But to each his own.

    Now, one is also free to propose theories. I certainly have no interest in stopping them. But it’s one thing to propose theories, and quite something else to prove them. I agree that these theories make for fascinating reading. They would be even more fascinating if they could be proven.

  85. HongKonger Says:

    # 82 WKL:


    # 83
    No 99

    This is spot on:
    Ma says China urges Israel to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions and improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
    Beijing’s strong comments contrast with the cautious position China has taken amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. Beijing has expressed no support for proposed U.N. sanctions against ally North Korea over its alleged sinking of a South Korean warship.- AP


    “they would forsake multiple investigation for the theories of some guy.”

    I hear ya. The interesting fact of the matter is that your above statement is AS true of those who subscribe to official (i.e. the global ally of bullying – I mean, of ruling elites) reports. Once again SKC, you are not far from the truth regarding proofs. Problem with so many official proofs is, what ya see or what is presented as official facts and reports have too often, even in the very recent past, been anything but the truth. Hence, allowing so many insiders to get away with great rewards and leaving ancient civilized deserts blood soaked with unredeemable war crimes. As everyone knows that only with the passage of time and certain paradigm shifts to take place, such as biases, beliefs and new discoveries will most allegation yield proof. Yet, the greed for instant and significant profits will take priority over empircal evidence, legitamizing mass killings with chicanery.
    How true it is that history repeats itself – more often tha perhaps we realize. Where once the scientific West and the illiterate populace had the tyrany of the Vatican to content with, today, our sensory overloaded world saturated with mis-dis and free information have long made the old simplistic black and white mores redundent. IMHO, it is only wise to heed some of the admonitions from whom the powers that be are keen to brand as Conspiracy Theories. I liken this attitude to what I remember hearing from the pulpit that people of faith should shun interactions with doubting Thomases, non believers, (i.e. “sinners”) and particularly to avoid reading worldly materials. Why? I suspect it has to do with putting oneself at risk of belief-diluting discoveries.

  86. Jason Says:

    @Hong Konger

    At least China’s response is sensitive rather than blaming the other side that caused which the US’ responds to Israel assault.

  87. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    there is certainly nothing wrong with having a healthy skepticism of the “official” answer. As you’ve alluded, the US performance in Iraq has severely eroded her credibility, and justifies such skepticism. So the onus, more than ever, is for the US to substantiate her claims. And even then, we should remain skeptical.

    However, does this era of skepticism require the genesis of competing theories? If one is to be skeptical, should one only be so in response to what the US has to say, while accepting the word of any other Tom/Dick/Harry at face value? I’d submit that recent US transgressions and failures should have engendered heightened skepticism in general. Should competing theories be spared that skepticism? Are US claims debunked simply by the presence of a competing theory, or should we require some proof of the veracity of that theory first?

    So I say be skeptical to your heart’s content. Personally, I don’t need alternate theories to arouse my skepticism; in fact, all these other unproven theories simply give me more things about which to be skeptical.

  88. Legalist Says:

    Now will NK and Israel be linked? It looks a lot can change on a single day.

  89. Raj Says:

    Has China come off the fence and agreed to punish North Korea in some way?


  90. Jason Says:

    Has US, the biggest financial of Israel and the architect of diminishing Palestinian land come off the fence and agree to punish Israel in some way?

  91. No99 Says:

    People will hate me for saying this but I think comparing between China/North Korea relations with USA/Israel relations, East Asia is a little bit smoother to handle than the Middle East.

    Both China and North Korea are next to each other, and for all purposes, if anything happens in the Peninsula, the PRC is going to step in first before the other countries will. They want that buffer zone or at the very least, conditions that are favorable enough. You all can kind of say that China is already the hand that moves the region. At the most, there might be skirmishes between the North and South Korea, with American troops involved on a mini scale (simply because they are there), but nothing full blown. This is my speculation, but I believe my opinion will become stronger depending on how develop the Chinese Navy and air force is.

    Israel is on it’s own mainly due to the geography. Although the US government support is “seemingly” adamant, there plenty of American thinkers who believe the US will be drag in if wars involving multiple countries and groups occurred in the region. The thing is that it won’t just be Israel vs the Arab/Muslim world, virtually every group in the region, from Europe to Africa, maybe the Indian subcontinent, will be involved in some way. The cynical view is that there are many out there, including many “allies” that want to diminish the US’s power. Not destroy it but to lessen the influence. Depending on what type of battles (physical or political) are fought and between who, the Middle East is the most likely place that can do that.

    It’s nothing controversial just the reality of the world. However, things don’t have to go down that route if people work hard in their own countries and together with the international community.

  92. pug_ster Says:


    It is always a political chess game when it comes to invading countries. Iraq was US’ ally until Saddam betrayed them and wasn’t China’s or Russia’s ally. Iran however is a strategic interest to the China and Russia because it is consider their buffer zone from the west. Afghanistan is considered a country run by outlaws before the ‘coalition’ invaded it. North Korea is considered as a buffer state for China and Russia. So the other 3 countries in the UN security council, US, UK and France has always play political chess games to make up excuses to poke around North Korea and Iran.

  93. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Yeah, cuz they just like to poke around. Nukes? Nah. Who cares about those.

  94. HongKonger Says:

    # 87
    First of all, I believe I get what you are saying – I think 🙂 Or maybe I don’t.
    I am a simple, “Fool me once shame on me” kinda man. I was not always this skeptical, and believe me, there has been much repentance over the years for me – i.e. from looking at only one side of the coin, so to speak, ever since (and these are the facts) the Bush/Blair cohorts’ lied to ignite and fuel the beginning of the ongoing mammoth crime against humanity – towards WWIII.

    Many people hypothesize the confirmed lies for these Middle East wars is to control oil. And that US political and economic “masters” are so confident in their propaganda, and so correct in their conclusion that the critical mass of humanity is too feeble to stop them from brazenly moving forward in their long planned out global hegemony.

    About alternative theories and CTs. In “Voodoo histories – The role of conspiracy theories in shaping modern History,” a David Aaronovitch’s new book: “Ockham’s famous razor: “the simplest explanation is usually the best,”(usually – not always though). Some events are “a chain of bad luck – melancholy and meaningless. Precisely, the reason so many reckon there was a cover-up… “conspiracy theory” says Aaronovitch “is a way of reclaiming power and disclaiming responsibility.”
    Yet, the author does not want to sneer at conspiracists – he sees a deep-rooted psychological problem. “Conspiracy theories may be psychologically necessary. Like medicine, such beliefs may be the self-medication to solve a deep-rooted disorder: the desperate sense of nothing means anything anymore. He describes conspiracy theories as history for the conscientiously and unjustly beaten – with pity rather than scorn.

    Anyways, like I said before, I am not much of a debater. Truth is, I have learned much from your prolific contributions here on FM. Although, unlike you, I have to confess that I totally need to read both sides of any arguments – I mean, how else will we receive a more balanced 3-D information?

  95. Jason Says:


    That is exactly what Kim Jong-Il is doing. He likes to provoke and get attention. But of course North Korea hawks will buy into it and use “fear” to propagandize their beliefs onto the citizens.

  96. HongKonger Says:


    Here’s a message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, 2010. This is an act of tremendous courage to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

    RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.

    The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.

    In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.

    We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.

    We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.

    Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.

    Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie – by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)

  97. Steve Says:

    I’ve been to South Korea quite a few times on business both when I lived in Asia and from the US so I guess I’m the only blogger who’s spent much time there. Since I was always with South Koreans and we talked about North Korea all the time, this is the general consensus over there.

    The South would like eventually reunification with the North but is afraid of absorbing the financial cost of unification. It’s been 20 years since Germany reunified yet there is still a big disparity between economies. North Korea is in far worse shape than East Germany ever was so the South would take a hit in terms of their prosperity. They’re obviously not too keen about that.

    They see North Koreans as their fellow Koreans and feel a great sympathy. They hate the North Korean government. They like Americans but understandably want American troops off their soil. Yet they know that to do this, they’d have to spend more on their own military and they don’t want to do that either, so as in Japan their emotions don’t exactly agree with their pocketbooks.

    They don’t like or dislike China but accept it as a giant neighbor. Though they would never admit it, their closest cultural affinity is Japan, which is evident in their music, movies and other arts. South Korea looks more like Japan than any other place I visited in Asia though I could never say that there, since there is a love/hate relationship between the two countries.

    Korea isn’t called the “Hermit Kingdom” for no reason. They are by far the most insular culture I’ve come across in my travels. I definitely detected an “us against the world” attitude there. But once past the cultural divide, they’re a warm and friendly people that like to drink a lot. And I mean a LOT. I enjoyed my time there but unlike other Asian countries, would never consider it a place to visit on my personal time.

    As far as the present conflict, I’d like to make a few points:
    1) The dividing line between North and South Korea was set up by the UN after the Korean War. North Korea has never accepted the line but they’re the exception. And the nations that accept that line include China.
    2) The Cheonan wasn’t in a war game at the time but on patrol in what is considered to be South Korean waters by the UN and the rest of the world.
    3) The water was shallow and that is why the ship didn’t think it would be attacked by submarine, therefore its guard was down and it didn’t have the proper support to prevent such an attack.

    As far as China’s position, they’re caught between a rock and a hard place and they know it. Of course they know North Korea sunk the Cheonan, they’re just trying to figure out the best approach to take to protect China’s interests. The old guard wants to take North Korea’s position while the young bucks want to side with South Korea and see North Korea as an albatross around their neck. Hence the conflicting, ambiguous statements from China after the sinking. I can’t blame them. South Korea is an enormous market for Chinese goods and the South Koreans have made huge technical investments in China. North Korea is a leech that just sucks oil, food and goods from China. So what are the options?

    If China places an embargo around North Korea, the government will probably fall but there’s a better than even chance that the government does something nasty, and by that I mean nuclear nasty. No one wants that.

    South Korea does not want to re-unify at this time. Sure, the popular sentiment is for re-unification but the South Korean leaders understand the cost of re-unification as do most South Koreans. It’s enormous.

    No one wants a war, not South Korea, not the US, not North Korea and not China. A war would mean the fall of North Korea and chaos in the region. It’d also probably mean an economic meltdown that would affect the world.

    China doesn’t control North Korea any more than the US controls South Korea. Koreans don’t let anyone control them. I can’t emphasize this enough. For those who think South Korea is a US puppet state, you just don’t know what you’re talking about. And the same can be said for the relationship between North Korea and China.

    The US Military is in South Korea because of the North Korean government. If the North Korean government falls, there is no reason for a US military presence in Korea at all and the Koreans would want them out. I have no doubt about this. They are essentially a hermit kingdom and do not like foreigners having military bases in their country. With the fall of North Korea, there is no reason for those bases to exist. Since they are a democracy, if a government didn’t do this, they’d lose the next election to a government who would get rid of the bases.

    For that to happen, China could not take over North Korea militarily, since if that happened they’d want a US military presence as a counterbalance. And that takes me to something I see all the time on these pages and from the CCP spokesmen, that China’s rise is peaceful. China’s rise scares the hell out of its neighbors. If you don’t understand this, you haven’t spent much time in Asia.

    Here is an article that covers the incident from the South Korean POV. And for some who say that a South Korean ship sailing so close to North Korean waters was provocative, then you’d best be prepared to say the same about China per this article. The parts that might interest you are:

    Premier Wen Jiabao met his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo weeks after Chinese naval helicopters twice buzzed Japanese destroyers, and a Chinese marine survey ship pursued a Japanese coastguard vessel.

    “Our prime minister said the recent Chinese activities near Japan had raised concerns,” a Japanese foreign ministry official said following the talks.

    Hatoyama had “requested that such actions never be repeated,” said the official, who asked not to be named, adding that Wen had offered no reply.

    Japan has eyed China’s military build-up — with annual double-digit growth for most of the past two decades — with concern and repeatedly called on the country to increase the transparency on its defence spending.

    The helicopter incidents in April came as Japanese destroyers were watching a Chinese flotilla, including submarines, sailing in international waters between Japanese southern islands, an act seen as provocative by Tokyo.

    And this happened between two countries who have good relations with each other and are not at war. North and South Korea are still technically at war and their relationship makes the China/Taiwan relationship look like peaches and ice cream. 😉

  98. Legalist Says:

    Steve @97:

    1) which line are you talking about, the 38th parallel or the northern limit line? The northern limit line is an overreach and now come back to bite. I’m not sure Chins accepted it. China accepted the 38th as did North Korea because three sides – north Korea, china and un troops – signed the cease fire agreement. Only south Korea didn’t sign. It’s not possible that China accepts the NLL separately. There’s no need for China to accept it.

    2) see point one. Cheonan is in south Korea waters? Sure if south Korea and the Americans want to say that. Legally, if north Korea said Cheonan was in our waters and we torpedoed, nk would have a good case.

  99. Charles Liu Says:

    That’s right, Nothern Limit Line was imposed by US military, and is not mentioned in the 1953 Armistice Agreement. NK disputes the NLL. Citations have been provided in comment 41.

  100. Steve Says:

    @ Legalist #98: I was talking about the Northern Limit Line. After I read your comment, I did some research and what I found was that NLL was created by the UN Command which was run by the US military at the time, and can only be changed by negotiation between North and South Korea. North Korea has refused to do this just as they’ve refused to negotiate a final peace. The most thorough paper I’ve read on the NLL was this one. After reading it over, I agree with you that China had no reason to ever accept or reject the line.

    The NLL has been disputed between the two Koreas but also been observed by both sides over the years. The only time North Korea breaches it is when the want to start a confrontation, so it’s handy in that regard.

    Wow, I wrote all that and the only dispute was over two points in the middle? I’d call that a moral victory! 😉

  101. Otto Kerner Says:

    An anecdote: my father was in South Korea on business one time. He was in a cab and the driver asked him where he was from. My father said he was American and the driver replied, “Look, here’s what you should know about Korea. Koreans only dislike three things: 1) communism, 2) socialism, 3) the Japanese!”

    Later, I met an American who had been teaching English in a small town in South Korea. He told me that the Koreans there all hate Americans (maybe it was his personality!) I developed a hypothesis that, if my father had told the cabdriver he was Japanese, he would have been told that Koreans hate 1) communism, 2) socialism, and 3) the Americans! And if he had said he was a communist, it would have been 1) socialism, 2) Americans, 3) the Japanese! And so on.

  102. Otto Kerner Says:


    Thanks for your interesting comments. I think your description of Korea’s “us against the world mindset” fits in very well with what I’ve heard about B. R. Myers new book The Cleanest Race. Myers argues that North Korea’s internal ideology is not really Marxism or Juche (and certainly not Confucianism or Buddhism) but an idea of racial superiority that requires Korea not to rule the rest of the world but by all means to remain completely independent of an unsullied by it. By this logic, then, it doesn’t matter that South Koreans enjoy more material wealth, since this comes at the cost of their conquest and continued occupation by America. According to Myers, this storyline has considerable appeal among the public in North Korea, and explains why the government is not more unpopular than it is, considering its spectacular misrule of the country. Myers also pointed out in an interview that the North Korean government has recently found it necessary to start making promises to improve living standards, which implies that the story’s appeal might be starting to wear thin.

    I really hope China and South Korea can work out some kind of arrangement that will get rid of Kim Jong-il, keep North Korea as a buffer zone free of foreign military forces, and get American bases out of South Korea. Hopefully, the deal would allow more freedom and political integration for North Korea than per my suggestion in #52, and also get some cash aid from China to assist North Korea’s economic integration, in return for protection of Chinese interests there.

  103. Wukailong Says:

    @Otto: That looks like a very interesting book. I’ve been following the developments in North Korea for over a decade, and it didn’t take too long before I stopped believing it’s just a communist state – the Juche philosophy is something very odd and definitely homegrown. Interestingly enough, at least philosophically, China and North Korea are as far apart as they can be – one always talking about self-reliance, the other one about opening up.

  104. Josef Says:

    Steve, you wrote
    Of course they know North Korea sunk the Cheonan, they’re just trying to figure out the best approach to take to protect China’s interests. The old guard wants to take North Korea’s position while the young bucks want to side with South Korea and see North Korea as an albatross around their neck.
    I share this opinion. But I wondered the other way round, that the whole incident was fabricated by NK to increase the power of their supporters, this “old guard” in China.
    I see this one parallel between NK and Israel, that both countries have direct influence into a super power. The influence of Israel into the U.S. is not so unusual, while NK’s influence into China is unique.
    you wrote later on
    “some kind of arrangement that will get rid of Kim Jong-il, ”
    Probably something like that was already started (from China) and NK’s action was mainly targeting to turn back the wheel.

  105. Steve Says:

    Hi Otto~ I agree with WKL that the book you mentioned sounds like a winner and I’d like to pick it up, so thanks for the recommendation. The concept of Juche reminds me of the Ming dynasty in the mid 1400s that burned the treasure fleet and stopped trade with the rest of the world, under the thinking that everything they could ever want was supplied within the country. That one single decision hurt China more than any other and to me is the #1 reason for China’s eventual downfall and subjugation by foreign powers. Looking at North Korea, it’s the same situation magnified by 100 since China was at least well run at times and had more internal resources.

    I agree that the appeal is starting to wear thin. I read somewhere that the reason is that the people are no longer as isolated as before and have been getting word by various means that South Korea is a paradise compared to their situation. Once you stop believing everything the government says as truthful, you start to believe none of it and that might be what’s happening right now. However, I can’t see any way for the people to get rid of the current government. If something happens, it’ll be after the current Kim dies. That’s been one of the theories as to why he ordered the sub attack. I believe something similar happened in the past under the same circumstances. He’s trying to keep rule within the family as he passes the torch to his youngest son. It’s a theory so hard to say how accurate it or any other North Korean conjecture really is.

    I believe your second paragraph is the key to solving the Korean peninsula problem; keep the foreign armies out of North Korea. Maybe a UN force can hold the fort until things settle down? The solution that would not be acceptable would be for either Chinese, US or Japanese troops to occupy North Korean soil. It might not even be possible for South Korean troops to go up there, since China would probably see that as a threat. If China was guaranteed a US withdrawal from South Korea if the North Korean government fell and a protectorate was established with eventual unification, might that be the way out of this for everyone?

    I think some in South Korea like Americans while some hate them, just depends on the person. I think in my business, people liked Americans because of the type of Americans they dealt with. But even walking around Seoul, I never encountered any problems. I took the high speed rail one time from Seoul to Daegu in the southeast part of the country. The city was relatively modern though nothing like Seoul but when I took the two hour drive to the factory in the country, it was like going back in time, and this occurred only a couple of years ago. I’d bet 90%+ of all foreigners visiting Korea never get past Seoul/Inchon or Busan. As with foreigners who only see Beijing and Shanghai, their view of China is very limited and misleading. After that trip, I had a very different view of Korea as a whole.

    @ Josef: I’m sure the North Korean government and military had a plan in mind when they ordered the attack, and I’d be curious to see if the reaction they’re getting is similar to what they expected. I sure wouldn’t want to play these guys in poker; they’re excellent bluffers.

  106. S. K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer #94:
    as I said earlier, a skeptic doesn’t need all manner of conspiracy theories, since those would just represent more fodder about which to be skeptical. However, I can accept that a skeptic who asks himself “now what” might need to resort to such theories to gain some peace. By that, I mean “ok, I don’t believe Bin Laden hatched the plan to destroy the WTC…but the WTC was still left as 2 piles of rubble, so somebody did…but who?”

    Or, in this case: “I don’t believe NK was responsible for sinking the Cheonan as the multinational team said she was…but the Cheonan had been sunk, so somebody sank her…but who?”

    Of course, one could also examine the basis for said skepticism. Yes, prior bad acts is a factor. But does some American blogger sitting on his fanny have any real legitimacy in proposing a theory about something that happened half a world away, without any first hand physical investigation? To each their own, I suppose.

    The irony, though, is that the people who choose not to believe an “official” answer would be willing to advance an alternate theory which itself has just as much room for doubt and skepticism. It’s as though the skeptics are skeptical about everyone except themselves, or the people they happen to agree with. Which leads me to my next point: are the “skeptics” truly skeptical, or do they just use that as a convenient vehicle for their biases? For instance, if China comes out and says “yes, absolutely, we agree that the evidence shows that NK did it”, would those “skeptics” still be around to stand up and be counted? Are these guys true believers in skepticism, or just true believers in disagreeing with everything that the US says? We can each have our own answer to that one, and that’s just fine by me.

    No doubt, those theories are an amusing read. No harm reading them, especially with an open mind that likes to ask a bunch of questions. Alas, that often results in more questions than there are answers…but c’est la vie.

    To Jason #95:
    “That is exactly what Kim Jong-Il is doing.”
    —and to me, the US, UK, and France aren’t exactly like Kim Jong Il, but to each their own.

  107. Jason Says:

    What an embarrassment to the Republican party of South Korea! A clear rejection and referendum of their hardline tactics on North Korea.

  108. HKer Says:

    # 105

    “The concept of Juche reminds me of the Ming dynasty in the mid 1400s that burned the treasure fleet and stopped trade with the rest of the world”
    “Once you stop believing everything the government says as truthful, you start to believe none of it and that might be what’s happening right now. ”
    “people liked Americans because of the type of Americans they dealt with.”

    True, amen and agreed 🙂

    # 106


    Very well explained. Thanks !

    “are the “skeptics” truly skeptical, or do they just use that as a convenient vehicle for their biases?”

    I guess it goes without saying that BOTH category exist. I tend to believe that most jaded domestic and educated international skeptics, save for the odd fanatics, are likely to have healthy doses of doubts nowadays rather than a simplistic and dogmatic right out disbelief. Questioning the motive and varacity of reports particularly pertaining to geopolitical, racial, religious pontifications, especially those leading to segregation – not to mention Western foreign policies which involve the most deadly and active military in modern history justifying endless peacetime invasions and occupations, are certainly something worth a second, third or more look everytime – if for nothing else, at least to have some idea on WTF is going on – You know, like we say in HK: “就算死都要死得明明白白嘛.”

    Jason: “That is exactly what Kim Jong-Il is doing. He likes to provoke and get attention. But of course North Korea hawks will buy into it and use “fear” to propagandize their beliefs onto the citizens.”

    SKC, —and to me, the US, UK, and France aren’t exactly like Kim Jong Il, ”

    Hell, no. And thank goodness the Chinese leadership have the wisedom to deal with that midget 🙂

  109. S.K.Cheung Says:

    To Hker:
    Healthy sense of doubt can be good for you. Tendency to ask questions is a great habit. Those things, i think, work best when applied evenly and uniformly; less well when applied selectively, and with prejudice.

    Thanks for writing the Chinese HK style. Much easier to read for me. With some luck, we won’t be crossing that bridge for quite some time yet.

  110. Wukailong Says:

    @SKC: That particular line in Chinese is actually the same in both simplified and traditional.

  111. Rhan Says:

    WKL, HK (Cantonese) style. I think Pu Tong Hua don’t use 就算死.

  112. HKer Says:

    SKC: “Those things, i think, work best when applied evenly and uniformly; less well when applied selectively, and with prejudice.”

    Amen, brother. Yep, let’s hope we will all live long and prosperous lives 活也要活得明明白白 🙂

  113. Legalist Says:

    The South Korean public has brought some sanity to the sanction and war hawks. It seems the Korean front is much quiet now. At the end of the day, the sunshine policy is the way to go.

  114. No99 Says:

    Hi Otto and Steve,

    Regarding your experiences in Asia and that book (I skim it at Borders the other day)…nothing specific towards you guys but just a general point of view. I think both you offer valuable insight about the Korean Peninsula.

    I try to refrain myself from making comments like , so and so hasn’t been here long enough or so and so doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve run into a lot of people who mention the same type of statements when I ask for advice going to places and most of the time, they haven’t been helpful. It happen to me when I went to France, a bunch of people that has been or live there tell me a lot of things, in the end the only piece of advice I used was to be careful of the thieves there. When I was reading Steve’s post, it’s just those words flash back some memories for me. Actually, I noticed everyone here kind of makes a similar argument towards each other on some posts.

    Sorry for the non-relevant ramble here.

    I like Korean food.

  115. Wukailong Says:

    @No99: “I try to refrain myself from making comments like , so and so hasn’t been here long enough or so and so doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve run into a lot of people who mention the same type of statements when I ask for advice going to places and most of the time, they haven’t been helpful.”

    I agree with that. Since I was the one to bring some of these points up, I guess I should explain why. Even though I’ve personally been spared from most of it, it’s happened during some occasions that even well-meaning criticism have been met by things like “you just try to bash China and don’t know about life there”, and this is said by people who’ve barely been there. They believe they know the country by force of their ancestry.

    As long as we value experience more than ancestry, I’m fine with any viewpoint or observation…

    I love Korean food too. It’s soon lunch here, maybe I should go get myself a bibimbap! 🙂

    Another Korean thing: I’d like to introduce the strange story of James Dresnok, an American who defected to North Korea in the 60s. He’s been living there ever since:


  116. No99 Says:

    Hi Wukailong,

    I can empathize with you there. I also don’t like those who do the same things and try to stop any meaningful discussions. I mean, I know just enough not to offend or be arrogant, so I’m aware of the line not to step over. Then there are times where some people need a taste of their own arrogance, but I try my best to not stoop that low.

    I’m fond of the Korean cold noodles, I forgot the name, but it’s basically buckwheat noodles with slice pear, cucumbers, daikon and beef. Sometimes you can get it in a cold broth or in a chunky spicy sauce, served cold. Get a side of mandu (dumplings) and the Kim Chee.
    No Soju for me though, other people explain it like rubbing alcohol, but when I drank it, it was kinda ordinary.

  117. pug_ster Says:

    I found 2 more articles about ‘conspiracy’ of the 2 sinkings…



    And this article I thought was very good the ‘consequences’ of China pulling the plug on North Korea.


  118. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #117: I liked the Asia Times Article. I did notice that it said No need for conspiracy theories, it is enough to believe that many political decisions are quite whimsical and superficial, otherwise the US would not have plunged into disastrous adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Doesn’t that directly contradict your first two articles from… shall we say… questionable sources?

    So… which one is it? 😉

  119. Legalist Says:

    It’s good china tries to calm the Korean hotheads on the both sides of the 38th parallel. Otherwise a shooting war can start anytime.

  120. Buru Says:

    Doubts surface on North Korea’s role in ship sinking http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/23/world/la-fg-korea-torpedo-20100724/3

    Some of the points raised does not sound ‘conspiracy’ at all, as also the credentials of the doubters.

  121. pug_ster Says:

    BTW Steve 97,

    2) The Cheonan wasn’t in a war game at the time but on patrol in what is considered to be South Korean waters by the UN and the rest of the world.

    You’re wrong about this according to this link. It says:


    The U.S. ships were already at sea when the South Korean patrol ship Cheonan sank on Friday as part of the international exercise Foal Eagle, the official said. The cause of the sinking is still not clear.

  122. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #121: The U.S. ships were taking part in an international exercise, not the Cheonan which was just on patrol about 75 miles distant. The sentence wasn’t well written so I can see where you’re coming from here.

Leave a Reply