April 2018

North Korean Crisis update

Fears of a U.S. operation to oust the regime in Pyongyang have been North Korea’s greatest fear since the Korean War. But what is more difficult to discern is the relationship between China and North Korea. The leaders of the two nations engaged in a surprise meeting that shocked the world.

When the North Korea crisis began, there was a broadly believed, flawed theory that China was as alarmed by North Korea’s behavior as the United States was; it was hoped that China could serve as a origin of pressure on Kim Jong Un. The reality is the Chinese were quite satisfied to see North Korea handcuff America. If the U.S. attacked, America would be seen as an aggressor and would be blamed for a horrific war. If the U.S. refused to attack, it could be portrayed as tired and unable to stand up to North Korea. Either outcome would benefit China, showcasing a U.S that is tired or impulsive.

The North Koreans were aware that the Chinese regarded North Korea as dispensable. Their relationship with China has always been shaped by the Korean War, in which China did not get involved until its own borders were vulnerable. Even had China wished to be an honest negotiator between America and North Korea, history makes China questionable in North Korea’s eyes. China does not trust or like North Korea and the North Korean leadership knows this.

North Korea’s recent strategy is to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea, which it has done. You see, South Korea does not want a war with the North. If war were to break out, South Korea would see millions of casualties. So the North is appearing to be more reasonable in its treatment of the South, hoping the South will distance itself from the threats of the Trump administration, and it knows South Korea absolutely fears war.

China would definitely like to see defense relations between the U.S. and South Korea damaged, as much as North Korea would. China wants to see U.S influence in Asia weakened. For this, China may attempt to seduce South Korea by making special rules for the access of South Korean goods to China possible thus reducing America’s influence over South Korea. There are many layers to this Asian crisis, and the outcome is unpredictable in the extreme.

What will happen next? North Korea must improve its relationship with China. If the North is ready to scale down its nuclear program, it will demand some kind of security guarantee in exchange, apparently with China influencing President Trump. If the North is simply looking for sanctions relief, weakening Chinese enforcement of sanctions is the goal. If the North has no intention of making substantive concessions in Kim’s meeting with Trump, war becomes all the more likely – again this would cause the Chinese to try to slow down the Americans. This is all very complicated and filled with maneuvering and subterfuge. No one in the West seems to really know what is going on between China and North Korea.
Over the next two months Kim Jong Un is set to meet at the bargaining table with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump and possibly even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – despite having no actual experience with face-to-face diplomacy.

So difficult to know the outcome of these important meetings…they will be fascinating to watch.
Bible prophecies have long foretold the rise of an end-time Asiatic superpower capable of producing a huge army that will ultimately fight against a European beast power stationed in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 9:13-17). Most likely North Korea will be part of the 200- million- man army that makes its way across the Euphrates river as it advances to Jerusalem (Revelation 9:16). That is yet to take place in the future, soon before Christ’s return.
—Steven LeBlanc

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