China to OUST USA as world super power using North and South Korea for ‘Cold War 2.0’
CHINA could use the recent thaw in relations between Pyongyang and Seoul to dominate South Korea and snatch it away from the United States as part of “Cold War 2.0”, an expert in East Asian affairs has said.
Professor Ruediger Frank said the recent high-level diplomatic contact between the North – led by Kim Jong-un, and the South – led by Moon Jae-in, could preface an end to “the post-1990 world order” which saw the United States as the biggest power in the world.
The North and South, who are still technically at war having never signed a peace treaty, announced plans for a joint summit in the border village of Panmunjom next month.
And China sees this as an opportunity to swoop in and draw South Korea away from the US.
Mr Frank said: “China has been rising for many years now. As a result of its massive gains in economic, military and political power, Beijing is becoming more assertive in international politics.”
Citing China’s recent constitutional change to extend the rule of President Xi Jinping, Mr Frank added: “I have for a long time expected a situation when the Chinese are ready for an open challenge to the supremacy of the United States, thus ending the phase of a unipolar world order that started with the demise of the Soviet Union around 1990.
“I call it the Cold War 2.0, and it will certainly start in China’s own backyard: East Asia.
“I thought such a development would take at least ten more years to materialise, however.
“Is this what we are witnessing now, thanks in part to Donald Trump who is acting as a catalyst of such a process by pulling the plug on TPP, expanding THAAD, demanding higher payment for US military presence, and offending his allies with the threat of punitive trade measures?
“We should keep our eyes open for signs from Beijing.”
Mr Frank suggested China could play a “critical role” in altering the outcome of the dialogue between the North and South using the situation to stand up to the United States.
They could try to get international sanctions lifted for North Korea, and when the bid inevitably fails, China could leave the UN agreement and open trade to North.
This could leave South Korea facing a stark choice: siding with the United States and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and refraining from re-opening the Kaesong Industrial Zone with North Korea, or concluding that it was in the national interest to fall into line wth China.
Writing on North Korea analysis website 38 North, Mr Frank added: “Washington would use all its economic and political power to prevent that, but under certain conditions, the costs of offending the United States will be offset by the benefit of facing a particularly friendly China.
“What the US does next will have long-term implications for the role it will play in Asia’s future.
“To maintain influence, the US should be smart, capture the current process and take a more active stake in dialogue with North Korea, rather than being the only party to remain seated ostentatiously while everybody else is cheering the joint North-South team.”