Chinese Troops Deploying In North Korea
(HELIUM) South Korea’s daily newspaper is reporting that what Western analysts have feared has happened: Chinese troops have been deployed into North Korea. The Chinese now have a presence in the rogue state for the first time in more than 15 years.
China has had no military presence in the rogue country since 1994 after it quit the Military Armistice Commission that supervises the Armistice that suspended the Korean war.
Since that time, Pyonyang has stridently announced that it will no longer abide by the agreement. During 2010 the North Korean government officially declared that it is once again in a state of war with South Korea and the U.S.
The South Korean government confirmed reports on January 18, 2011 that China has stationed military forces in the special economic zone of Rajin-Sonbong.
It’s a move on China’s part that has seen U.S. and South Korean military experts rushing back to reprogram their war games scenario computers.
A week earlier, the South Korean daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, carried quotes from a government official wishing to remain anonymous. The official who works for the South Korean president stated that Party leaders in Beijing and Pyongyang’s leaders recently held “substantive” talks about the need to station Chinese troops in the troubled region.
“North Korea and China have discussed the issue of stationing a small number of Chinese troops to protect China-invested port facilities,” said the official. “The presence of Chinese troops is apparently to guard facilities and protect Chinese nationals.”
The unnamed official further revealed that the Chinese planned to deploy their troops in the city of Rason, within Rajin-Sonbong, a special economic zone located in North Korea’s northeastern quadrant.
The reasoning behind the Chinese troop deployment is presumably to afford protection for Chinese ports that might be at risk if a war breaks out on the Peninsula, but South Korean analysts consulted by the paper point out that the targeted location positions the troops in a militarily strategic location.
The city gives the Chinese direct access to the Sea of Japan.
One senior South Korean official downplayed the report saying that it only permits China to come to North Korea’s aid in the event of greater North Korean instability.
“Pyongyang and Beijing have reportedly discussed the matter of stationing a small number of Chinese troops in the Rajin-Sonbong region to guard port facilities China has invested in,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said. “If
it’s true, they’re apparently there to protect either facilities or Chinese residents rather than for political or military reasons.”
The government of North Korea has grown increasingly dependent upon their giant communist neighbor. As the North’s economy continues to deteriorate their saber-rattling has become increasingly bellicose. During December of 2010 they warned that they were ready to annihilate any aggressor and would be more than willing to defend themselves with their nuclear stockpile.
Military nuclear experts estimate the North now has between six to twelve nuclear weapons. None have been successfully modified to arm missiles yet.
The South Korean paper also reported that Seoul’s International Security Ambassador Nam Joo-Hong believed that China had the capability to rush large numbers of troops into the North if extreme instability became evident.
“The worst scenario China wants to avoid is a possibly chaotic situation in its northeastern provinces which might be created by massive inflows of North Korean refugees,” Chosun Ilbo quoted Nam as saying.
A China based source told the South Korean newspaper “In the middle of the night around Dec. 15 last year, about 50 Chinese armored vehicles and tanks crossed the Duman (Tumen) River from Sanhe into the North Korean city of Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province.”
The Daily NK, a North Korean newspaper and online news source, claims the North and China signed an economic agreement the end of 2010. As part of the contract, China will construct three more piers at the seaport and build a new highway. Daily NK also reports that a new railroad will be built between Quanhe in Jilin and Rajin-Sonbong.
Both the North and South newspapers failed mentioning the concerns raised by South Korean and U.S. military leaders about the dangers of a Chinese involvement in a new Korean war.
Learn more about this author, Terrence Aym.