CCP’s played North Korean space card to disrupt China-Japan-South Korea summit

Special to, May 29, 2024


By Richard Fisher

China’s play was a classic exercise in coercion straight out of a 1930s gangland movie: Pay me and I will make sure my crazy cousin does not thump you!

But in this case, on March 26 China had gathered in Seoul, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol, for the first trilateral summit of the three nations since December 2019.

Amid the first trilateral China-Japan-South Korea summit since 2019, on March 27, Chinese ally North Korea launches a space launch vehicle that triggers Japan’s emergency alert system, all part of a China-North Korea coercive exercise. / NHK

With China and North Korea aiding Russia’s war against Ukraine, both Japan and South Korea want to avoid war.

Their joint declaration from the summit stated, “We reaffirmed that maintaining peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia serves our common interest and is our common responsibility.”

China’s goals, however, do not include “peace.”

During a March 26 press conference Chinese Premier Li Qiang stated, “We should resolve suspicions and misunderstandings through honest dialogue, uphold bilateral relations with a spirit of strategic autonomy, promote a multipolar world and oppose bloc confrontation and factionalism.”

China’s code words “strategic autonomy,” “multipolar world” and “bloc confrontation,” mean, respectively, don’t follow American leadership but instead follow China’s, and don’t join alliances that defend your security from direct and indirect Chinese aggression, such as from “crazy cousin” North Korea.

And with perfect timing, North Korea appeared on the scene to emphasize China’s coercive message with a threatening space launch vehicle (SLV) launch.

Early on May 26 amid the trilateral summit, North Korea informed Japan that it would conduct a space launch between May 27 and June 3, and notices to airmen (NOTAMs) identified rocket stage splash down zones similar to the third North Korean Chollima-1 SLV launched on Nov. 21, 2023.

Early on May 27, North Korea’s attempted its fourth Chollima-1 SLV launch which failed after two minutes of flight, but it still triggered defensive responses in Japan and South Korea.

The failed North Korean launch triggered Japan’s J-ALERT system, a national warning system created in 2007 to provide immediate national warning of impending disasters like typhoons or military strikes.

Also, in response to the North Korean launch, South Korea conducted combat aircraft drills, including some of its new Lockheed Martin F-35A fifth generation fighters.

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