Irregular Warfare on the Korean Peninsula

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

David Maxwell examines the potential for irregular warfare on the Korean Peninsula and notes that the Chinese have a clear stake in what happens in the north:

[D]espite wishful thinking otherwise, China is going to intervene during a crisis in the north in order to protect four major interests. It must prevent the spillover of any conflict into China. Second, it must prevent the flow of refugees into an area where there are already some 2 million ethnic Koreans. Third, it will want to prevent not only the loss of control of nuclear weapons, but also prevent nuclear weapons from falling into ROK hands and simultaneously securing any information and evidence that might demonstrate Chinese complicity in the north Korean nuclear development program. Finally, China will want to ensure access to the natural resources that it has already secured through multi-year leases (in some cases 100 years) with the north Korean government. These interests will drive Chinese actions in the event of crisis, either conflict or collapse.

Leave a Reply