How to change status in PRC 2022
The DPRK leadership doesnu2019t have the guts to nuke Seoul unless if the ROK Army and the Americans were literally smashing through the DMZ and heading straight for Pyongyang.
,Despite all the talk, Kim Jong Unu2019s sister Kim Yo Jong is mostly aimed at deterring the South rather than actually trying to destroy them.
Also remember in 2018 when people wanted her to become the u2018first female dictatoru2019? Wild times.
Source:,The PRC-DPRK Relationship is one of the most misunderstood relationships in the world, almost every non-Korean has a massive misguided preception of the alliance.
,Misperceptions in no particular order,American and general Western misconceptions: That the Chinese and North Koreans are an alliance of u201clips and teethu201d (quote by Zhou Enlai) which signify their close relationshipChinese misconceptions: The DPRK Loves the Chinese and Russians and are their little brother and hates the puppet South and the Imperialist AmericansJapanese misconceptions: That the ROK is on the gig with China and the DPRK to screw themThe actual really surprising truth is that the DPRK leadership trusts no one, not their ethnic kin to the South even under concilitatory governments (Kim Dae Jung, Roh Moo Hyun and Moon Jae In, the leaders of the Korean Left, tried and failed to secure peace).
The DPRK doesnu2019t trust the Russians and the Chinese, in fact, if I had to create a scale of who the DPRK hates the most, it is in order,The Americans (For reducing most of northern Korea to rubble during the USAF bombing campaigns during the Korean War and for intervening alongside the U.
to stop the northern invasion to reunify the peninsula and install a Communist Goverment),The Japanese (for their Imperial Rule over Korea during the colonial period, as well as the efforts to cultural absorb Korea and the hundreds of thousands of civilian workers forced into wartime labor and sexual slavery),The Chinese (Surprise right? But actually, the DPRK doesnu2019t trust the Chinese, which I will explain after this list, and have actively purged the pro-China elements of their leadership routinely),The southern Koreans (Their u2018brainwashedu2019 ethnic kin, who must be liberated someday according to their propaganda outlets and arguably genuine belief.
The northerners especially believe the southerners have degenerated due to u2018democracyu2019 and whatnot),Ok first, the DPRKu2019s nuclear program is actually not an offensive program, but rather a program meant solely for deterrence.
Now obviously all nuclear weapons programs are deterrence based, but the DPRK would never dare fire its nuclear warheads offensively in an effort to destroy the South, it would mean the end of the DPRK, no nation, even their allies, would tolerate the use of nuclear weapons in a non-nuclear conflict.
Itu2019s so taboo that even the great powers of the world, whether they be the Western Bloc (America, Britain, France, Israel), the Eastern Bloc (PRC, Russia) or the non-aligned blocs (Pakistan, India, etc), the rest of the world would throw at them everything from terrible sanctions, withdrawal of diplomatic ties and if really desperately needed, military invention to stop them.
,No, the DPRKu2019s program is to ensure itu2019s own survival.
The DPRK military might look big, but its equipment is so outdated and its economy so weak that it would not be able to handle the strain of war.
Anyone who thinks a non-nuclear DPRK could beat the ROK has no idea what theyu2019re talking about.
,The DPRK has 1.
2 million active soldiers and 600,000 reservists + 5.
8 million paramilitary personnel, so that totals up to roughly 7.
6 million personnel.
Sounds large right? The ROK in comparsion has around 450,000u2013500,000 active soldiers, 3 million reservists and 3 million paramilitary personnel, so about 6.
5 million personnel combined.
In addition, the infographics here show that the DPRK has more tanks, artillery pieces, submarines, and whatnot.
,However, all these facts wonu2019t change the truth that the DPRK is way too economically poor to support a sustained war effort.
The DPRK equipment is from the 1960s-1980s mostly, after which their economy collapsed during the 1990s famine.
The troops are under fed, their morale would be weak as conscript armies are generally better for defensive warfare than offensive warfare, and finally the ROK has a massive population pool of 50 million in comparsion to the DPRKu2019s 27 million (in fact, the DPRK conscripts women, the ROK doesnu2019t), which partially explains why the DPRK has a larger military.
In wartime, with women also helping the front, the ROK would prevail through technological superiority, a stronger economy, greater pool of manpower and significant international support.
The DPRKu2019s only two strengths in conventional warfare are its elite special force units, numbering around 200,000 who would probably be the most significant threat in a convention war between the two states.
Besides that, DPRK missiles and artillery would be able to significantly damage Seoul (actually only mostly northern Seoul, most of their artillery can only hit half the city or its outskirts) which would inflict significant civilian casualities.
,However, the ROK would still steamrolll them without even US support as long as the PRC doesnu2019t get involved, which is why the DPRK began developing nukes.
The DPRKu2019s nukes are the only thing that balances in the Korean peninsula, without them, the DPRK would stand no chance against the ROK alone.
A nuclear DPRK would be neigh impossible to defeat for the ROK without millions of Korean civilians dying in nuclear hellfire before the ROK reaches Pyongyang.
The DPRKu2019s nukes are meant for a doomsday scenairo in which they are under attack.
,Itu2019s also why the U.
are still in South Korea, and as long as the DPRK stands should not leave.
withdrawal wouldnu2019t make things any better, it would instead spiral the situation out of control.
The South Korean public wants nukes, nearly 75% of them support it.
nuclear umbrella is the only thing stopping South Korea (or Japan for that matter) from building a massive nuclear arsenal to make the DPRK stop threatening to nuke them.
A doomsday scenairo which I predict is entirely possible is that the U.
may disband the U.
-ROK Alliance (depending on 2022u20132028 elections, Trump was a strong proponent of disbanding the alliance), and then the ROK immediately rushes to start and finish its nuclear program.
The ROK is a nuclear-latent state, estimates suggest it would only take 6 months to a year to go nuclear, and if the US leaves, nothing the PRC or Japan (who if anything, would support them in exchange for the Koreans turning a blind eye if the Japanese build nukes as well) does will stop the ROK from finnishing that program, even at the cost of severe economic strain.
People should remember that for states, national security is their first and highest priority, only after that comes freedom, economic prosperity, civil liberties, etc.
,Now that we got that covered, letu2019s go back to why the DPRK resents the PRC and the USSR/Russian Federation.
I talked about this in comments on other answers, but the DPRK constantly feels that the PRC and USSR/RF has never respected them (Which is probably true).
Part of this I learned from readings, but mostly I learned from my recent Graduate Course at George Washington.
Here is a short explanation of DPRK resentment.
,During the 1930s, Kim Il Sung was a Communist Korean guerilla in Manchuria.
Around this time, the Japanese were utilizing Korean collaborators to put down the insurgents, and CCP guerillas suspected Kim of being a collaborator, and nearly executed him, before Kimu2019s fellow friends in the Korean and Chinese Communist groups pleaded by arguing for his loyalty.
,From 1948u20131950, Kim Il Sung had to beg to Stalin for support in reunifiying the Korean peninsula to overthrow the ROK.
That in itself was humiliating, imagine having to go to another country to beg for support to reunify your country.
,1950u20131953, after the failed DPRK offensive into South Korea, the PRC had to intervene to bail the North Koreans out.
During this period, the DPRK resented how the PRC assumed operational command of the conflict (because to be fair, they had millions of troops fighting to fix Kimu2019s mistake).
,1953u20131970s, the DPRK initially had a strong relationship with the PRC (1953u20131958) but that all went downhill starting from the Great Leap Forward, the August Incident and the Cultural Revolution.
,What happened was that while the 1948u20131953 troubles were annoying grievances, Kim finally turned on the Chinese and Russians around 1958.
The August Faction Incident, on August 1958, was the tipping point.
Around this time, the PRC and USSR manhandled Kim after he continued raising military spending instead of focusing on consumer goods (to help the North Korean people), which Kim was offended by as he felt it was his own economy to control.
,Here, it should be very briefly mentioned that the DPRKu2019s Workersu2019 Party of Korea (WPK) had four factions.
It hadu2026,Kimu2019s Guerilla Faction, composed of Kim Il Sung loyalists who fought alongside with him during the Japanese colonial period.
,The Chinese Yanu2019an Faction, comprised of Chinese Koreans who had fled to China after Korea was annexed by Japan, and had deep connections with the CCP, a great number in fact fought under Mao against the KMT during the Second Chinese Civil War.
,The Soviet Korean Faction, formed from Korean Communists who fled to the USSR after the colonization and stayed there, many served in the Red Army.
Ironically, Kim could have been u201cinu201d on this faction because he retreated there after the Japanese crushed Sino-Korean resistance in Manchuria.
,The Domestic Faction, mostly Korean Communists who stayed behind after Japan annexed the nation, some were tainted by collaboration with the Japanese.
,So Kim only really trusted his own faction, his war time buddies, and was never the biggest fan of the Chinese and Soviet factions.
Around this time, the two factions engaged in a political struggle against Kim (they likely did not want to overthrow him, but regardless they wanted to curb his power and follow the PRC/USSR direction).
Kim saw this as foreign influence, and purged thousands of opposition WPK Communists after 1958, almost all with connections from China and the USSR.
,History repeated again from 2011u20132013, during the power struggle between the pro-Dynasty factions that wanted to keep the status quo and the pro-China factions in the WPK.
Jang Song-Thaek, Kimu2019s Uncle, was the most openly pro-China member of the WPK and wanted the DPRK to pursue Chinese style reforms and open up the economy, but he failed in the power struggle against Kim Jong Un and was executed.
,Additionally, Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Unu2019s oldest brother (half brother), was a pro-China (and arguably concilatory to US/ROK/Japan) figure who openly criticized Kim Jong Un and also desired Chinese style reforms.
He was later assassinated in 2017 as he was seen as a threat to the DPRK power base because of the potential fact that if the PRC hypothetically initiated a regime change (before anyone gets mad and mentions the US involvement in regime change, this is all strictly hypothetical), Kim Jong Nam would based on my analysis have likely been swept into power as the head of a pro-China DPRK Government.
,The original heir of the Kim Dynasty, the former Crown Prince was caught at Tokyo Disney Land by the Japanese, and humiliated the North Koreans so much that he was disinherited.
All this leads up back to one of the original points, the Chinese and North Koreans are in a dysfunctional marriage, a friends with benefits relationship where both secretly, greatly resent each other for genuine slights and insults.
They only stick together because they both need each other and also because of mutual hatred towards the Japanese and Americans.
,PRC grievances to the DPRKNorth Korean ingratitude from the Korean War: Without Chinese intervention, the DPRK was doomed.
The PRC spent hundreds of thousands of young men, many of whom remain buried in the Korean mountains, to bail out Kim Il Sungu2019s failed adventure to unify the peninsula under Communist rule.
Additionally, the PRC lost the ability to forcefully end the Chinese Civil War and reunify with Taiwan when the Americans, angered by PRC intervention in Korea, deployed a fleet to the Taiwan strait to deter PRC aggression.
A lot of modern Chinese geopolitical woes come from their intervention in the Korean War, where they won some things (great prestige for going toe-to-toe with the Americans and the U.
as well as securing the Manchurian border) but also lost much as well (the threat of American intervention in Taiwan always looms due to the aftermath of the Korean War, the U.
would have let the Communists takeover Taiwan had they not forced their hand in the Korean War).
The Chinese lost much from the intervention in exchange for gaining an ally in Korea, but the DPRK often had its independent streak and didnu2019t follow Beijingu2019s ordersu2026,Not taking a side during the Sino-Soviet Spilt: Going off previous point, the DPRK didnu2019t take either side during the Sino-Soviet Spilt, angering both the USSR and PRC, the PRC more-so because the DPRK did owe them from the Korean War and also because they were fellow East Asian Communists.
The PRC struggled to gain legitimacy amongst the Communist bloc, often only gaining support in far away Africa or Albania (even Vietnam prefered the Soviets, leading to the Sino-Vietnam War).
,Building the Nuclear Arsenal despite Chinese protests: The greatest grievance for the Chinese leadership, the DPRK went against the UN and built its nuclear arsenal, despite Chinese sanctions (yes I know they help skirt around them, but still the Chinese didnu2019t oppose it at the UN).
The Chinese genuinely did not want a nuclear DPRK, as it hampered relations with the ROK and also broke their nuclear monopoly over East Asia.
,Embarassing China via association: Often times, younger Chinese whom I interact with online and in-person cite this the most.
Yes, the PRC obviously is not telling the DPRK to threaten to nuke Seoul, but it is similar to friend groups where you are friends with that one guy who is doing excessively immature shit that makes you look bad.
Many younger Chinese often disassociate themselves from the DPRK, and even nationalist movies like u201cBattle of Lake Changjinu201d will never lead to Chinese tourists visiting the DPRK over other destinations like the ROK, Taiwan, Japan or the West.
,DPRK grievances to the PRCChinese excessive interventionism: As mentioned before, the 1958 and 2011u20132013 (and 2017) purges are aimed at curbing potential PRC influence, nearly all major purged figures were always pro-China or pro-Soviet, which really says a lot.
The DPRK resents PRC attitudes that look down on them after they had to be bailed out by the Chinese and aggresively react to whenever the Chinese try to influence them.
This was made worse by the fact that historically, during the Qing Dynasty, the Koreans had to pay tribute and lip-service to the supremacy of the Qing Emperor in Beijing.
The North Koreans, being nationalists, regarded this part of history as humiliating, even though during the Qing Tributary System the Koreans were an independent state.
The mere though of a suzerain state that bossed around smaller states angered them deeply, and it was made worse when Beijing opposed the nomination of Kim Jong Il (Kim Il Sungu2019s son and second leader of the DPRKu2019s Kim Dynasty), as it literally reminded them of how during the Ming and Qing Dynasty, Joseon Korean leaders had to get u201capprovalu201d from the Chinese Emperors.
Now like at certain points during Joseon, the Koreans obviously ignored whenever the Chinese u201cdidnu2019tu201d approve, but ever time the Chinese denied a rule u201clegitmacyu201d it was a massive loss of face for the Korean leaders, and the DPRK was no different.
,Cultural Revolution: This one is more for another answer in the future, but there were incidents of armed conflict at the Sino-Korean border between DPRK and PRC border units (similar to the Sino-Soviet border war), which fostered paranoia in Pyongyang that Mao was out to get them.
Didnu2019t help that during the Cultural Revolution, Korean culture was attacked as one of the u201cFour Oldsu201d and so often times ethnic Koreans were killed and sent to the DPRK as warnings for if Kim didnu2019t stop his u201crevisionismu201d for not taking a side in the Sino-Soviet spilt,Recognizing the ROK: The greatest grievance for North Koreans, the PRC recognition of the ROK was a massive international humiliation for the North Koreans, who essentially lost face when their partner and ally (who literally fought a war against the ROK + US/UN Coalition) recognized the South in the 1990s.
For context, the DPRK still doesnu2019t recognize the ROC, so the level of betrayal they felt towards the PRC is hard to describe in words (to make it worse, the PRC, which most donu2019t know, enjoyed cordial relations with the ROK from 1992u20132017).
The DPRK felt greatly isolated in the 1990s as this was also in the midst of the Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.
After this, the DPRK turned inwards from the betrayal and retreated into isolation, and emerged from the darkness not as the authoritarian, Communist state it was during the Cold War but as the totalitarian, ultra-Korean nationalist state we know today.
The PRC recognition of the ROK (which shattered all remaining DPRK trust in the PRC), combined with the overwhelming coalition victory in the First Persian Gulf War, convinced the DPRK to pursue a nuclear weapons program,Sanctioning them: Very simple, when your economy is already bad, sanctions from an ally (if only even in name) still hurt.