Chinese Invasion of N. Korea

Freeman

New Member
Traditionally we think of North Korea and China as allies; however, history is replete with instances of international treachery. What do you think the strategic implications would be of a Chinese invasion of North Korea? I was thinking about it tonight and here's what I came up with.

What does China stand to gain?

North Korea: Her land, her people, her infrastructure and her resources.

A better strategic posture: A successful invasion and annexation of North Korea would put China in a better strategic position for the eventual invasion/annexation of S. Korea, thus removing a vital "blue team" asset from their backyard and recovering all of her spoils. The threat of an invasion of South Korea alone would would provide china enhanced diplomatic leverage.

What does China stand to lose?

From my perspective, very little. North Korea has successfully isolated herself from the world. This alienation and the conditions of the current regime would ensure a tepid response from the West and the world in general at worst - especially if China can find some tenuous justification for the invasion. North Korea would be unable to defend herself from a surprise invasion from the North by a massively superior foe.

In Conclusion

I've read that China has been massing forces on the border of North Korea for four years under the auspices of supporting North Korea in the event of an attack from the South. What do you think would happen if instead China backstabbed her neighbor and mounted a surprise attack? Is my perspective flawed? Is such an attack plausible? Why or why not? I'd be interested in hearing what you think.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
North Korea is tiny, and economically a basket case. The cost of integrating them into China would be immense. Why bother? The Chinese have enough of their own backward regions to develop, and they hardly need more people at this point. Not to mention they risk a nuclear attack if not on Chinese cities, definetly on Chinese troops.
 

John54

New Member
It's widely known that N. Korea would immediately implode if Beijing shut down the oil and gas pipelines, i.e. cut off the welfare. It's far more advantageous to have N. Korea as a buffer than occupied "province" full of hostile and nationalistic Korean insurgents. Yes, it would be like Iraq now, Afghanistan both now and during Soviet invasion, and the Vietnam War.

China is so thoroughly connected to the rest of the world's economies that an invasion would be a total PR disaster with severe stock marker implications.

Remember what happened when the Russians invaded Georgia? Their stock market to a nose dive. :nutkick
 

Neutral Zone

New Member
There is no way that China will invade North Korea unless there is an extreme provocation. You have to bear in mind that North Korea has huge quantities of chemical weapons, the means to deliver them and potentially a small number of nukes. If the PLA crossed the Yalu, Kim would fire these missiles across North East China resulting in hundreds of millions of civilian deaths and with the cropland and water supply poisoned for many years to come. Just about all of the economic progress that China has made since the 1970's would be undone. This of course would provoke a terrible retaliation from China but what would Kim have to lose? In a straight military fight China would win after a relatively long, hard fought campaign, if you're Kim in such a scenario your aim becomes "If I'm going down I'll take as many of the b******* down with me as I can!" He's going to lose anyway so the objective becomes to make your conqueror pay such a terrible price that the whole idea of invading is unattractive.

There was a thread like this on SinoDefence a year or two back. The consensus was that if China ever felt that it had to dislodge Kim from power because he had become a serious threat to regional stability then it would do so by stealth. China is bound to have agents within the DPRK government and military and there is the possibility that it could organize a coup d'etat if necessary. Far from an apocalyptic battle, we would wake up one morning to hear that Kim had "slipped on a bar of soap" in the time honoured fashion! A "government of national unity" has assumed control and in order to ensure stability the PLA has been "invited" in to help provide internal security!
 

tonyget

New Member
Too many starving north-koreans, China can't feed them, unless South Korea is willing to receive their northern fellows.
 

Crunchy

New Member
I agree with what members said before.

A Chinese invasion is very likely if the leadership of PRC sees a great potential that a "reunifed" Korea will be completely pro-West.
So I think a reunified - which will very likely be under Southern leadership - Korea would have to at least like Vietnam today (well only in foreign policy) aka neutral.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
I can't think of any reason why China would want to invade N. Korea.

The south is a valuable & valued trading partner with which China has friendly relations, & the only things China would like to change about it is its alliance with the USA, the US troops stationed there, & the direction its armed forces point.

Invading N. Korea would turn S. Korea into an enemy, guarantee that US troops would remain (& perhaps even be reinforced), & make the S. Koreans more likely to seek improved relations with Japan - all contrary to the interests of China.

An invasion would also add 20 million hungry non-Chinese, with a lot of obsolete, non-productive industry, & no love for China. It would be expensive, bloody, & run the risk of nuclear weapons going off in China. It would disrupt trade.

Absolutely everything is against it. The whole idea is board game thinking, geopolitics over-simplified into meaninglessness.

I can only imagine Chinese military intervention to stabilise things after a N. Korean collapse.
 
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ReAl PrOeLiTeZ

New Member
nothing to gain at all basically. no resources, more people to take care off, pour money and resources into that territory. China doesnt have to go to war to take over North Korea, all China has to do is to choke off North Korea supplies in resources. And North Korea will begin to crumble.
 

Manfred2

New Member
Dont forget, N K is threatening to launch a missile, no doubt to try and shake the West down for more money and free stuff. If they fire it, and manage to hit something, that gives two nations a excuse to invade.

China could step in, and then hand the place over to S. Korea, and establish itself as the master of Asia's destiny, on all levels.

Or, China could stand by and let the South do the deed, making a deal on the side that once Korea is unified, that all those US troops leave Korean soil, once and for all.

Either way, Beijing wins.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Manfred what makes you think the South will want to take North Korea if China gives it to them?
 

Chrom

New Member
Manfred what makes you think the South will want to take North Korea if China gives it to them?
Ya, West (and generally everyone else) was nether short of excuses to invade someone. If SK still didnt invaded NK - it is not because there were no excuse...
 

AdvanXer

New Member
Traditionally we think of North Korea and China as allies; however, history is replete with instances of international treachery. What do you think the strategic implications would be of a Chinese invasion of North Korea? I was thinking about it tonight and here's what I came up with.

What does China stand to gain?

North Korea: Her land, her people, her infrastructure and her resources.

A better strategic posture: A successful invasion and annexation of North Korea would put China in a better strategic position for the eventual invasion/annexation of S. Korea, thus removing a vital "blue team" asset from their backyard and recovering all of her spoils. The threat of an invasion of South Korea alone would would provide china enhanced diplomatic leverage.

What does China stand to lose?

From my perspective, very little. North Korea has successfully isolated herself from the world. This alienation and the conditions of the current regime would ensure a tepid response from the West and the world in general at worst - especially if China can find some tenuous justification for the invasion. North Korea would be unable to defend herself from a surprise invasion from the North by a massively superior foe.

In Conclusion

I've read that China has been massing forces on the border of North Korea for four years under the auspices of supporting North Korea in the event of an attack from the South. What do you think would happen if instead China backstabbed her neighbor and mounted a surprise attack? Is my perspective flawed? Is such an attack plausible? Why or why not? I'd be interested in hearing what you think.
I see a possible invasion to topple Kim and propping up another pro-china regime to maintain some type of stability in the region, and that still looks unlikely. But an invasion for the purpose of total annexation? Hell no. Not as long as South Korea still exists. Once China crosses the Yalu I'm sure the ROK will invade from the the south, either to support the Chinese or the North Koreans. Which side depends on what was known and agreed upon ahead of time. If the South were caught off guard you can be sure they won't be supporting the Chinese.
 

Manfred2

New Member
Manfred what makes you think the South will want to take North Korea if China gives it to them?
Why would they not? After all, West Germney did not hesitate to re-unite with East Germany.

All this would also make a handy diversion from preparations to invade Taiwan as well, eh?
 

Waylander

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
The cost of reunification in Germany was huge.
And the west started richer than SK these days while the GDR was much much more advanced and much less broken than NK is.
In the GDR the people thought about the luxury they couldn't get as well as some occassional surpression.
In NK they worry about surviving and feeding the family...

Decades of South Korean development would be negated by the cost of integrating the north.
And they would maybe need to seal the former DMZ for people trying to leave the north. Otherwise the north might be empty within a couple of month.
 

Manfred2

New Member
Would Germany have hesitated to take in the East in the same circumstances?

Its as much about emotion as anything else, as is ever the case.
 

Waylander

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
Even with the rather good circumstances there were several people in the west who opposed such a fast and mutual reunification.

And weren't in a state of war for 50 years after a bloody civil war with armed clashes occuring right into these days.

Sure it is about emotions as much as about everything else.

But I don't think it's a safe bet that the south really wants to reunify with the north from one day to another without proper planning and a well timed phase of transition.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
...Sure it is about emotions as much as about ...
Indeed.

The differences between north & south are quite considerable now. My partner & I passed a bunch of short, poor-looking people yesterday, & when we were out of earshot, she said "They look like North Koreans". Apparently they were speaking Korean (she knows some), but they were too short, too shabby, & had the wrong clothes, hairstyles, etc. to be S. Korean. She couldn't tell from their speech (didn't hear enough, & in any case, her Korean isn't good enough to identify dialects accurately) where they might be from.

That sort of obvious, visible difference, in people who were indistinguishable a few generations ago, says a lot about how they have diverged.

Korean-Chinese, from the Korean minority (a majority in some districts) in NE China is another possibility, I suppose.
 

furymonkey

New Member
In my opinion the last thing China will do is to draw more attention to itself, if such thing happened, people will label them as aggressor, not to mention they already have their hands full with Tibet and Taiwan. So therefore I don't see it happen unless North Korea strike first, and I doubt that will be the case too.

China wants to be a super power, and they will eventually get there. Their best strategy is to stay low profile, not to give anyone any reason to tear them apart.

All these are just my perspective, sorry I don't have any facts or stats to backup my claim. :)
 

Zzims

New Member
Overall Huge disadvantage for China. No point in concluding any other situation unless N.K itself deem a direct threat toward Chinese territory and assets.

Off-topic wise, I hopefully in this life time see a United Korea =)
 
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