North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, along with his 17-car luxury motorcade, made his fifth visit to China from May 3 to May 7. Kim kept a high profile on this unofficial trip, even as his country faces a grave economic crisis.
Kim was seen staying at the five-star Furama Hotel in the city of Dalian where the presidential suite runs more than US$2,100 a night—equivalent to his country's per capita GDP.
His motorcade, cited as the longest in the last 10 years, required five minutes to enter the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where foreign dignitaries often stay. He also received a warm 5-hour welcome from senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders at the Great Hall of the People.
However, his visit was not welcomed by Chinese bloggers. “Driving Kim Jong Il out of China” blogs were so popular on the Internet that the Central Propaganda Department put out an order to shut them down.
Kim's visit happened shortly after President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea was invited to the “Korea-China Summit Talks” and the Shanghai World Expo Opening Ceremony. South Korea was very unhappy that the CCP had concealed Kim's visit from them and had deliberately provided such a high level of hospitality for Kim. South Korea called the Chinese ambassador to express disappointment and regret—a rare happening. The CCP has once again demonstrated its close relationship with its communist neighbor in an occurrence reminiscent of a similar event in 2008.
Why Such a Warm Welcome?
The CCP's strong support for Kim and North Korea is neither simple hospitality nor a push for Kim Jong Il to reform, as speculated by the outside world. Instead, Kim is just the CCP's barking dog. Then why did the CCP call in Kim so prominently this time?
First, the CCP wanted to force South Korea and the international community to discourage possible strong sanctions against North Korea after revealing the cause of the March 26 sinking of a South Korean navy corvette, the Cheonan, in South Korean waters.
Obviously, both Lee and Kim came for the ship-sinking incident. Lee had demanded that China admit North Korea was involved in torpedoing the ship and that China cooperate with the U.N. Security Council's sanctions against North Korea. So, the CCP called in Kim to comfort him, hoping the high-profile reception would deter the sanctions.
North Korea is actually “the only direct suspect” in the ship-sinking incident. President Lee said at the “Military Commanders Conference” on May 4 that the sinking of the Cheonan was not a simple accident. Chosun Ilbo, a prominent South Korean newspaper, thought Lee's speech implied North Korea's involvement.
Once the truth is released, Lee will have no other choice but to impose sanctions against North Korea. General Burwell Bell, the former United States Forces Korean Commander, called for strict blockade measures if North Korean involvement is proven. Of course, South Korea will also ask the U.N. and the international community to take action together. Lee knows clearly that the CCP supports North Korea. He would like to get permission from the CCP before taking any action. This was the purpose of Lee's visit.
The CCP is now on the horns of a dilemma. If it agrees to the sanctions, North Korea's strength would be undermined, weakening its bargaining power to use North Korea to negotiate with the United States. If it does not agree, it would fear becoming the common target. Thus, the best option for the CCP is to use the high-profile reception for Kim to force South Korea to halt or reduce sanctions.
Second, the CCP needs to reward Kim. Some experts think that Kim Jong-Il regards the Cheonan incident as an opportunity to visit China to ask for urgent financial aid. In reality, the incident did help the CCP escape the embarrassment of Google's withdrawal and show the West the cards that the CCP holds. Moreover, North Korea is suffering from monetary reform failure, the plight of an unprecedented food crisis, and even a shortage of rations.
Besides China’s promised US$1 billion-plus investment in North Korea in February, it is said that the CCP will also provide 100,000 tons of food, worth US$60 million. This indicates that Kim deserves these rewards for what he has done, and Beijing has given him the rewards as promised. The two parties were able to collaborate with each other well, and Kim, therefore, paid China a visit.
Furthermore, the CCP wants to use Kim's visit to tell the world that North Korea is still under Kim's control, and that the CCP is now and will be firmly in control of him and, therefore, North Korea.
Finally, the CCP wants Kim to further surrender in front of the “China Model” by showing him around the port areas of Dalian. The CCP also tried to deceive the West that it is trying to convince Kim to to take the right path and, therefore, covered up its intent to use Kim to stir up troubles in the international community.
Read the original Chinese article.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.