Shen Dingli is a man who really knows the value of a fish.

Shen Dingli has become my favorite poster child for showing just what a bunch of maleficent assholes run China today, and in the aftermath of the Yeonpyeong shelling, he does not disappoint:

Shen Dingli, a security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, was more direct in laying the blame on Seoul. “South Korea provoked the Yeonpyeong conflict first,” he said. “The area where this incident happened is South Korean territory from a ‘South Korean perspective’. But it is a disputed area from the ‘North Korean perspective’. North Korea warned South Korea to stop the drills, but South Korea went ahead. And then the incident happened.

girl.JPG“It’s South Korean provocation and North Korean over-reaction. South Korea’s artillery killed fish. North Korean artillery killed civilians. If China should blame the party at fault, it should criticize both Koreas,” Shen said.

People, fish, same-same! I wonder if the stultified rags that Shen reads reported that the North Korean artillery almost hit an elementary school.

You remember Shen, of course. He’s the one who was flashing the green light just before North Korea’s first nuclear test. Remember that when you read Wikileaks cables, or characterizations of Wikileaks cables, reporting that Chinese officials say the North shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, or that this time North Korea went too far, or that one day at end of a receding horizon, the Koreas should eventually reunify. Hell, I’m sure they say a lot of things to our diplomats. I’m sure they say a lot of things to North Korean diplomats, too. I’m willing to bet those are very different things. I’d also bet that they’re said by different people, who may even hold slightly different views. But as a barometer of China’s actual behavior — as opposed to its cocktail conversation or what its editorials may offer tea-leaf-readers abroad — you can’t do better than Shen Dingli.

20 comments

  1. kushibo says:

    From the OP:

    “The area where this incident happened is South Korean territory from a ‘South Korean perspective’. But it is a disputed area from the ‘North Korean perspective’. North Korea warned South Korea to stop the drills, but South Korea went ahead. And then the incident happened.

    China and North Korea signed the Armistice Agreement in 1953, which explicitly puts the 서해 5도 (“Five Islands of the West Sea”) in UN-ROK hands, by name. The text is highlighted in this post, which addresses a fiction perpetrated by the LAT and former Ambassador Gregg that Yŏnpyŏng-do is disputed territory. It is not.

    Since 1999, North Korea has found an issue in pushing for a change of the de facto border, the NLL, effectively claiming a bunch of waters that they have never controlled except for a brief period during the war when they occupied most of South Korea. It is a dangerous escalation if North Korea now sees the Five Islands of the West Sea as a new front in their ideological land grab. And it is even more precarious if some in the PRC are legitimizing that effort.

  2. observer says:

    It is terrible that there has been a loss of life. In the spirit of looking at things from the other’s vantage point I would like to consider a few things. The US military has been in Korea, at the border for the last 50 something years pointing guns at the North. There has not been a formal end to the Korean War. What would you or I do if our neighbor has some armed people in their yard pointing guns at us? Now this has gone on for more than 50 years. How would you or I react after decades of being threatened by guns at your doorstep? Maybe we might not react so rationally as someone who is not under threat? There have also been a number of sanctions aimed at debilitating the North’s economy for many years. How would you or I think about that if our neighbor was preventing us from going to the market, or goods from reaching our home? What in the world is the United States, a country in North America, doing with some 30,000 troops in East Asia? I don’t hear that question asked much by those who think the problem is all about North Korea. Now these same United States have bases in Japan and regularly patrol the waters near these countries with aircraft carriers, fighter planes, etc. Is that ok? What are they doing there? Looking out for the poor Koreans and Japanese who they love so much? How many Asians have the US killed if you combine, Vietnam, Japan and Korea? Anyway the US is right to have its interests and pursure them. However I wonder why Asian countries too do not pursue their own interests rather than the interests of the United States? Why not call for the removal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula and replace them with neutral observers while a path to peace and unity can be worked out by the Korean people? Why not take the gun off the North’s head and extend a hand of friendship instead?

  3. milton says:

    Kushibo,

    I just learned yesterday that when NK tore up the ’53 armistice in 2009, they also declared that they would “no longer respect the legal status” (their words) of the five West Sea islands.

    In other words: though they had no qualms about SK’s claim to the islands prior to that, in 2009 they decided to backpedal and un-recognize South Korean sovereignty. So from a very technical stand point, Gregg et al are correct to say that the islands are (now) “disputed,” but in reality, making such a statement is–to put it blunty–stupid.

  4. Observer wrote:

    “Looking out for the poor Koreans and Japanese who they love so much? How many Asians have the US killed if you combine, Vietnam, Japan and Korea?”

    Allow me to respond:

    “Looking out for the poor Koreans and Japanese whom they love so much? How many Asians has the US killed if you combine, Vietnam, Japan and Korea?”

    I hope this has been of some help — assuming that you’re writing American English.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  5. South Korean says:

    Obsever,

    Let me clarify my nationality first. Yep. I’m a South Korean, who can see the recent North Korea’s attack more closely than any other people in the World.

    To be honest, I was very shocked to see your reply. At first, I wondered if you’re a spokesman for North Korea. Please, look at the essence of matter!! In short, you are trying to avoid the reality as it is, or see only one side of the matter, at best.

    Yes, it is true that the U.S. troops have been in Korean peninsular for over 60 years and that there might be a few Koreans who feel uncomfortable and offended about that. I also have to admit that the U.S. millitary are not here for South Koreans’ interests only.

    But, have you ever given some thoughts on why they have been here in Korea for the long time and why lots of South Koreans eagerly embrace them?

    Here is a simple but “hit-the-mark” question for your understanding: Who brought about the Korean War in 1950? You cannot deny that it’s the North Korea that should be blamed for the calamity. Without the war, the U.S. military might have not been here so far.

    My next question is this: Do you think that only the U.S. guns are pointing at the N.K.? Then, turn your eyes also to the North Korea’s muzzles of guns. What actually happened in the Yeonpyeong island recently? They intentionally shelled it. In the vortex of the brushfire war, two innocent civilians were also killed due to the N.K.’s artillery attack.

    You especially stress in your posting that it is natural for N.K. to react that way because they have been threatened by the U.S. troops at their doorstep. If South Koreans followed your logic, what should we do for what we’ve undergone from the N.K.? Their acts of barbarity are too many to count all the cases: Rangoon bombing in 1983, Korean Air Flight 858 explosion in 1987, Warship Cheonan’s singking by a torpedo in last March, and so on.

    You know what? South Korea now experiences a stirring for revenge after the N.K.’s artillery shelling. Actually, South Korea have fed them and even have given them lots of money for the past few decades. But they repaid us by firing at our marines and civilians. Should we keep up helping them with food and money in spite of their ungratefulness?

    Again, your argument has not a leg to stand on. For example, you asked, “How would you or I think about that if our neighbor was preventing us from going to the market, or goods from reaching our home?” Then, tell me what your answer is to this: What would you think if your neighbor killed your wife and kids in front of you, and constantly robbed you of money? If it really happened, I bet your next step would be definately call the police, although they are also not perfect and news media often cover their misdimeanors.
    The U.S. is to S.K. as the police is to ordinary people.

    If you are calling for “the removal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula and replace them with neutral observers”, then, you should also ask N.K. to stop all the provocative actions including developing nuclear weapons.

    Only one point that I can agree with your opinion is that the path to peace and unity should be worked out by the Korean people. In order for them to do so, however, related super-power countires’ concerted efforts (like 6-party talks) should set forth beforehand. Otherwise, N.K.–one of the most belligerent countries in the world–will desperately try to occupy S.K. as you can see in the recent attack of the South Korean island.

    Now, I’m sick and tired of those people–like you–who are easily saying about the peace without any guarantee. Frankly, I was nearly about to use F-word for you. Have you ever put in South Koreans’ shoes? Peace is nothing like what is easily said than done.

    Freedom is not free. That is the truth.

  6. Malasdair says:

    Well-put, South Korean.

    I think there is a lot to be said for considering the perspectives of other parties – particularly when considering China’s role in all of this – but I don’t think there’s any functional perspective where North Korea’s actions are anything but objectively wrong. And I definitely agree on taking the “China is displeased with NK” info from the Wikileaks documents with a grain of salt, but a hopeful one.

  7. Ditto81 says:

    Yes, Freedom is not free. But if Korean society is 5,000 years old, as both north and south claim, than why haven’t the two Geminis realized that?

    Why should a newly appointed benevolent Foreign be bailing them out after 5,000 years of having the chance to get their SHIT TOGETHER!!!!

  8. Ditto81 says:

    Foreign Power I meant.

  9. KCJ says:

    South Korean,
    Thanks for posting here. I’m sorry that not all the members here are possessed of equal dignity and decorum. Your points are very well made as far as I’m concerned. Please continue to post here – its the one of best K-blogs in English- maybe the best.

  10. kushibo says:

    milton wrote:

    I just learned yesterday that when NK tore up the ’53 armistice in 2009, they also declared that they would “no longer respect the legal status” (their words) of the five West Sea islands.

    Um, I’m not so sure. First, I realize they huffed that if the US/ROK side did something, then the Armistice was null and void, but the reality is that in KCNA reports there are frequent mentions of the Armistice as if it’s still in tact. In fact, they claim from time to time that South Korea or the US is in violation of it.

    Second, abrogating the treaty wouldn’t necessarily mean they are claiming all or some territories. KCNA reports don’t seem to state that Yŏnpyŏng (Yonphyong, as they call it) is theirs.

  11. Sonagi says:

    How many Asians have the US killed if you combine, Vietnam, Japan and Korea?

    Not nearly as many as the number of Asians killed by other Asians during the last century, which is why the US military became a fixed presence in Northeast Asia.

  12. Han Kim says:

    The idea that anyone other than a superpower could keep the peace in Korea and East Asia is impractical. Not to denigrate the bravery of blue helmeted Fijian UN peacekeepers who serve in Lebanon, but I cringe when I imagine them caught in the crossfire between the KPA’s 2d Army Corps and the ROK Army’s Tiger Division should things go bad.

    It takes a big dog to keep things calm. East Asia is home to 3 gigantic dogs (Russia, China and Japan) and two that are notoriously fierce (North and South Korea). The Americans may not be perfectly honest brokers but even the Chinese probably realize that the Americans are the least dishonest broker and the only dog big enough to keep things calm.

  13. Nathan says:

    Yeah, I can’t imagine what utility “neutral observers” would be in keeping peace in this situation, especially as I cannot imagine them having access to the northern side of the DMZ to neutrally observe there.

    They would simply become a new round of hostage-for-extortion for NK.

  14. Ditto81 says:

    Sonagi’s last post in this thread was a thread killer. By that I mean, such a fact that not even the big bang theory could reverse it’s truthfull post. She is right, westerners are dwarfed by Asians killing other Asians for conquest. A silent book in history is better burnt, some would say.

    Good to see that some are still willing to open chapters truthfull.

    Happy yule to you Sonagi, and I hope you wish me a Merry Christmas.

  15. observer says:

    Dear South Korean,

    Thank you for your measured and composed message. I know this is a very emotional topic so I appreciate your civil approach.

    Let me start where there is agreement.

    We both agree that the problems of the Korean peninsula and the Korean people are best sorted out by the Korean people.

    However the whole sad history of the last century has been one of other powers, so-called “great” powers making decisions for the Korean people.

    First the Japanese imposed their decisions on the Korean people and then in the post WW2 period the Cold War and its primary combatants made decisions for the Korean people.

    Today the US, China, Japan, Russia and oh yes, the Korean states are making decisions for the Korean people.

    When will the Korean people be able to determine the course of their own history without the meddling of larger powers protecting their “interests”?
    The history of colonialism has been one of “divide and conquer”. As long as the natives are fighting each other the colonial power can play the part of the benovelent leader keeping the savage natives from killing each other. This is an old story. Let no more Korean blood be spilt for stupid great power games.

  16. observer says:

    Dear South Korean,

    Even after the Japanese were defeated, sovereignty was not in the hands of the Korean people buecause the US and USSR decided to split up the peninsula into north and south and the Korean people were not even invited to these talks. The US military government in the south established control over the south by restoring to power Japanese colonial administrators and their Korean collaborators. The US military govt also banned the provisional govt of the Peoples Republic of Korea operating in the south because it was considered left-wing. It also presided over the disciplining of the labor force in the south by bannning strikes and attacking rallies and demonstrations. The north saw the regime in the south as collaborators of foreign colonial forces because indeed they were comprised of such elements. Anyway the point is that the Korean people never had a chance to determine their own destiny because they were always being manipulated by foreign forces. Isn’t it time for the Korean people to decide their own affairs?

  17. Observer, if South Korea wants the American military to leave the peninsula, then the US will leave. That’s how things worked in the Philippines back when America vacated its military bases there.

    But what does South Korea want? Even if the Americans went away, North Korean weapons would still be trained on the South. And China isn’t going anywhere. Not to mention Japan and Russia. Yet you ask:

    “Isn’t it time for the Korean people to decide their own affairs?”

    Apparently not. Not with the presence of other powerful forces that have national interests at stake here on the Korean peninsula.

    We are all of us born into a world not of our own choosing, and we rarely, if ever, get to decide our own affairs without interference from others.

    Your question therefore sounds very naive to my ears.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  18. Glans says:

    observer, do you endorse the Glans plan for Korea? 1. The South takes over the North. 2. China stays out. 3. The US gets out.

  19. R. Elgin says:

    Per “Observer”:

    the point is that the Korean people never had a chance to determine their own destiny because they were always being manipulated by foreign forces. Isn’t it time for the Korean people to decide their own affairs?

    This is a false allegation. Though Japan did occupy Korea, during that time there were several provisional Korean Governments set up (Shanghai, Korean National Council in Vladivostok and Seoul) and factionalism, due to regional fidelities, was a great problem that prevented a truly united effort in Korean independence and self-governance. When the war ended, Korean leadership was in disarray and could not organize itself. Even if Russia and America had kept out of Korea, there would have been a conflict of some nature if not on the same scale as the Korean War.

    Additionally, if you think that it is time for Koreans to decide their own fate, then what is keeping the south and north from conducting negotiations?

  20. observer says:

    Sometimes we need to look at things simply without overcomplicating them.

    Glans, I don’t endorse your plan for Korea because it still does not satisfy my basic democratic call for the Korean people to decide their own affairs. The South taking over the North is not the right way to approach this issue. The people must be able to decide through discussion and referenda a path towards unification on a basis that is acceptable to the people of the whole peninsula.

    Im not saying that the Korean people determining their own destiny will be easy or without conflict but at least it will be their conflict and their decisions. It will not be a solution imposed by the US or Russia or China or Japan.

    The first step is to de-escalate tensions by beginining a process of military withdrawal in a measured way. In the meantime have a mechanism in place of neutral observers to smooth the transition at the DMZ. Why not make the DMZ into a massive industrial zone where north and south can collaborate on industrial projects? There is much that can be done.

    And Mr. Hodges i respect your dogged realism but perhaps we need a dose of idealism mixed in with the realism to achieve certain human milestones. Slavery in the US would perhaps not have ended without some idealism, neither the right to vote for women, equality for gays, freedom for India and all the colonies, etc.

    It is true that the interests of the US , Russia, China and Japan are bound up with the fate of the Korean peninsula but the staus quo in the 1950s is not the same today and gunboat diplomacy and military overlordship by the US does nothing but polarize and exacerbate tensions. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. If the pro-peace forces in the south did not have to fight with US policy they would be able to create a more robust “sunshine policy” that could work towards military de-escalation, creating economic joint ventures, people and cultural exchange. The last thing this sort of policy needs is the US or other powers interfering with it.

    My position remains simply: “let the Korean people decide their own destiny without the intereference of outside powers”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *