China has had a strong influence on North Korea but tries not to make it evident so that its ally’s sovereignty remained intact. Still Beijing is using all leverages to prevent the two Koreas from being united under the aegis of Seoul and Washington. Not long before the naval drills in the Yellow Sea a Chinese official who did not want to be named was quoted as saying that “North Korea is our Eastern Germany. And do you remember what happened when Eastern Germany fell? The Soviet Union collapsed”.
North Korea is ‘ready to destroy’ the South in case a slightest threat to its sovereignty arises, Pyongyang warned Seoul and Washington a day before the U.S. and South Korea are due to launch joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. The exercises involve the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington accompanied by four war ships and at least one submarine.
Dispatching of the US aircraft carrier and warships from a Japanese base to the Yellow Sea for drills has caused deep concern in Tokyo. The ministers there were instructed not to leave the city and be ready to arrive at work within an hour. Japan fears another unpredictable reaction of North Korea at the situation in the region.
Seoul is also worried about the issues. Civilians were evacuated from the Yeonpyeong Island shelled by the North on Tuesday. Just 11 km away from the island North Korea has artillery targeted at the South. This is where the North launched its deadly attack on the South a few days ago. Seoul failed to provide an adequate reaction which cost the nation’s Defense Minister his post. New Defense Chief Lee Hee Won has promised not to repeat his predecessor’s mistake and thus added fuel to the fire. However, Seoul admits that its reaction to North Korea’s shelling brought no results.
Pyongyang views the U.S.-S. Korean exercises as a provocation and is ready to respond adequately. Obviously, Washington will take the side of its allies- Seoul and Tokyo – when necessary. The dispatching of U.S. military hardware in the Yellow Sea has apparently caused security concerns in Seoul and Tokyo.
In July Washington had to cancel naval drills in the Yellow Sea because of proximity to China. This time the George Washington is demonstrating the Pentagon’s strength to Pyongyang and China. Shortly after the Koreas exchanged fire on Tuesday, the U.S. intensified pressure on Beijing urging it to influence Pyongyang. China’s reaction to the demands of the U.S., Japan and Germany to be a mediator in a row between the Koreas was very moderate. An expert on the Korean studies at the Moscow University Pavel Leshakov comments.
The North has always tried to be independent, and accused Seoul of having a puppet government. Even a slightest sign of dependency from any country is a serious problem for them. In Soviet times Pyongyang tried to find a balance between Beijing and Moscow and even managed to gain from it.