When Xi attacks Taiwan and Kim South Korea, there is maximum resistance

Kim inspects munitions factories in North Korea

A week after China’s head of state Xi Jinping dismissed the military leadership of his missile force, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un followed suit and also dismissed a high-ranking general. It was reported from Pyongyang that the sole ruler wanted to use the new occupation to advance preparations for war against South Korea.

Kim takes Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as role models. Both aim to challenge the US and its allies whenever the opportunity arises.

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Encouraged by the lack of reaction to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin assumed at the end of February 2022 that he would be able to take Ukraine as a whole without any significant resistance – neither from the Ukrainians themselves nor from the international community. So far, this calculation has not worked out, but the Kremlin assumes that after the presidential elections in November 2024, a new Republican US administration will end or sharply reduce support for Ukraine, which is worth billions.

Beijing believes in a US decline for other reasons

In Beijing, on the other hand, there are other reasons why people believe in a decline in the United States, with the consequence that the United States is far too weak to prevent the Chinese military from invading democratic Taiwan. In addition to the small island nation, Beijing also has Japanese, Korean, Philippine and Indian territory in its sights. All of these states have military alliances with the United States.

Alexander Görlach is Honorary Professor of Ethics at Leuphana University in Lüneburg and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. After stints in Taiwan and Hong Kong, he has focused on the rise of China and what it means for East Asian democracies in particular. From 2009 to 2015, Alexander Görlach was also the publisher and editor-in-chief of the debate magazine The European, which he founded. Today he is a columnist and author for various media. He lives in New York and Berlin.

If Xi and his troopers succeed in driving America out of the Pacific, he could subdue all the countries in this region of the world. His warships and fighter jets are already provoking the US military in the region. Experts fear that Beijing could provoke the outbreak of a nuclear world war.

Kim Jong-un wants to succeed on an equal footing with Putin and Xi

Kim Jong-un wants to succeed on an equal footing with Putin and Xi. That’s why he rattles his saber, provokes South Korea and Japan at sea, lets rockets fly and plays with the atomic bomb. In the slipstream of Xi, the ruler in Pyongyang wants to secure a place in history and benefit from the good relations that his Stone Age dictatorship maintains with Russia and China.

So far, observers had assumed that Pyongyang had achieved its most important goal with the development of its own nuclear program and would keep its feet still in the future: Because of the possibility of being able to wipe out every city in the USA with a nuclear bomb from North Korea, Kim had concluded drawn that his regime was safe and did not have to fear that South Korea would attack the north together with the USA. That doesn’t seem to be Kim’s calculation (anymore).

Putin and Kim on the long leash of Xi

Kim could use China’s preparations to annex Taiwan to prepare for an attack on South Korea. Since he would initially gain nothing from such an attack, this step can also only be interpreted as recklessness, which is in no way inferior to the Chinese misjudgment that the USA could not win an attack in the western Pacific.

Because the moment Xi would attack Taiwan and Kim South Korea, the entire post-war order in the Pacific would be up for grabs, which would likely meet with maximum resistance from all those attacked. In this scenario, Kim at least sees a chance to strengthen his position in the ranks of dictators.

Red Alert: How China’s aggressive foreign policy in the Pacific is leading to a global war


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