Since he first took office, President Donald Trump has publicly leaned heavily on China for assistance in dealing with the growing and unstable nuclear menace that is North Korea and its dictator, Kim Jong Un.
On the surface, China has repeatedly pledged its full support.
Less publicly, Trump’s administration has tightened economic screws on China whenever North Korea tests a nuclear device or launches a ballistic missile, and though Beijing had promised to aid international pressure on their communist neighbor and abide by United Nations sanctions, it was recently caught apparently violating those sanctions by transferring oil ship-to-ship at sea.
Trump professed that he was “very disappointed” by the revelation that China had been undermining U.N. sanctions, but an exclusive report from the Washington Free Beacon about what China has really been doing behind the scenes should might make him furious.
The media outlet shared an alleged and as-yet unconfirmed “top secret” government document from China — leaked by someone who “once had ties to the Chinese intelligence and security communities” — that spelled out how the government would undermine international pressure in order to continue supporting the North Korean regime.
An English translation of the document in Mandarin from the General Office of the Communist Party of China to its International Liaison Department laid out the deal worked out with North Korea: Refrain from any further nuclear tests and Pyongyang would continue to covertly receive Chinese backing.
The document made clear that top Chinese officials had determined that North Korea was an invaluable “military buffer zone” against “western hostile forces” that wouldn’t bow to international pressure and must be preserved. Though the Chinese were somewhat concerned North Korean provocations could bring about military action on the peninsula, they didn’t consider it particularly likely.
Thus, the document spelled out how China would covertly support North Korea in a number of ways if the Kim Jong Un regime agreed to stop conducting nuclear tests, an agreement that would allow the North Koreans to keep whatever nuclear arsenal they have acquired thus far.
Indeed, the first action item on the document noted that only “symbolic” enforcement of international sanctions would be made, and the second item stated that sanctioned North Korean businesses in China would still be permitted to conduct commerce through third parties.
Third, China promised to increase financial aid to North Korea by 15 percent in 2018, and at least 10 percent for five years thereafter, in order to strengthen the “daily life and infrastructure” of its communist neighbor.
The document also noted that regulations that ordered the suspension of North Korean banking in China would only be applied to state-owned banks, allowing a loophole for “private” banks in the socialist regime to continue banking operations.
Finally, and most importantly, the document stressed that China would continue to support North Korea’s “defensive military construction” with the provision of “high-level military science and technology” — including advanced short- and medium-range ballistic missiles — to help keep the regime solvent and strong.
It was again made clear that if North Korea authorities agreed “not to overdo things on the nuclear issue” and showed restraint, they could keep their nuclear weapons for now, and maybe give them up later when tensions had eased. However, if they insisted on “acting arbitrarily,” China would reassess the proposed deal and apply its own punitive sanctions, if warranted.
Of course, the South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese government had swiftly declared the leaked document to be untrue, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang calling the report “fake news.”
Regardless, a number of experts on the region told the Free Beacon that, while they couldn’t totally confirm the authenticity of the document, all signs indicated it was the real thing — such as the type of language used, the logic of the argument and the official government seal, to name a few.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told the Free Beacon that if the document is authentic, “it reveals China’s policy to be completely cynical and utterly detached from its publicly stated position.”
“The White House would have to react accordingly,” he said.
It remains to be seen what the White House will do in response to this leaked document outlining Chinese duplicity, presuming it can be verified as legitimate. But it probably isn’t out of the question for Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis to brush off any accumulated dust from his prepared military options for dealing with the North Korean nuclear menace.
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