North Korea has sent the biggest firework tribute to the Chinese New Year – a nuclear test. The bang was so big that even part of Northern China that boards North Korea felt the quake. After the initial shock, many Chinese netizens started to question their government’s North Korea policy and called for suspension of aid.
Fear of radiation from North Korea was most netizens’ first reaction. A radiation impact map from North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test has been widely circulated on the Chinese Internet. No one seems to believe Chinese government’s official report that the nuclear test has no impact on Chinese environment. Such distrust in government even motivated netizens to test radiation levels themselves in major cities of Dongbei province that boarders North Korea.
However, after spending more time digesting the news, voices started to emerge that North Korea’s latest move is a sign of complete failure of China’s North Korea policy. Kdnet, a popular liberal online community, weighed in: “North Korea has become too hot a potato that China has to throw away….North Korea’s gift to the Chinese New Year was nuclear test and a man-made earthquake. Reality shows that China’s aid to North Korea fails completely. Further aid would be seen as a stupid mistake.”
谢文, former member of Yahoo China’s management team and famous commentator, even laid out specific steps that China should take: “To counter North Korea, at least we need to: repeal the China-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Aid; stop all free aid, suspend all military related cooperation, recall ambassador, expel all North Koreans who are involved in the businesses of drugs, fake money and illegal arms in China; give no special treatment to North Korea on media.”
The exact size of China’s aid to North Korea is unclear, but according to an article by South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo, China’s total aid to North Korea in the past 30 years may be around $100 billion.
In a sense, the real number no longer matters, at least to Chinese netizens. Most of them believe that China’s aid must be in hundreds of millions annually. The latest nuclear test is enough for them to call North Korea an “ungrateful wolf ”that betrays its master.
罗崇敏, a former education official in Yunan province, commented: “The very reason why North Korea hasn’t collapsed till this day is because China’s aid. The aid helps to feed North Korea’s army and government, but starve its people. [The Chinese government] must not keep this ungrateful wolf, who will never learn to appreciate his master who has been spoiling it.”
Other netizens even went further to question the meaning of China’s intervention in the Korean War. Netizen 成都-石龙 angrily asked: “At the cost of 700,000 Chinese soldiers, China fought a war in 1950 that resulted in a divided Korea…Does China give North Korea huge amounts of food and monetary aid each year only to be paid back with a nuke blackmail?” To the question of what China has gained after fighting the Korean War, 徐昕 answered: “A crazy dog.”
The conclusion? China will not help North Korea fight another war. In fact, many netizens thought that this might be a good time for a corporation between China and the US. 姑娘忒高兴, a popular Weibo (China’s Twitter) celebrity, commented: “China and the US should first work together to take down crazy dog Kim Jong Un. All other issues [between the two powers] can be put aside right now.”
China is probably the last country that North Korea wants to offend, but apparently it has already offended China’s millions of netizens.