China shares its national borders with 14 different countries. The fourteen neighbors are Afghanistan, Bhutan, DPRK (North Korea), India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
So it seems quite natural China pays its one of the highest and utmost important attentions onto its neighbors in terms of its both friendly bilateral and regional relations.
However, for a country like China who shares multiple borders with over a dozen neighbors, maintaining friendly relations with its neighbors should be something like a must-thing for the sake of its stable national security, lasting peace and continued economic development.
But, due to a given physical fact that China is the world’s third largest country in area but the world’s most populous country, it could be taken at times by some a “threat,” though it didn’t do anything particular to others.
Also it could have been easily tempted to become a hegemonic (in other words, imperial) power both to the region and the world, since it’s already physically a huge, incomparably giant in many aspects, particularly in the senses of 1) the population which literally means one in every six on this earth is Chinese, and 2) the rapidly growing, the second-largest financial power in the world now.
However, China, unlike other major powers particularly US and some of its key Western allies such as Britain, France, has chosen a much different path from its past thousands of years’ history of Emperors, Kings, feudalism, and so on.
That path, as it was set forth by the then Premier Zhou Enlai in his historic meetings with his Indian counterpart in 1953 and 1954, probably most symbolically can be represented by the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as “China’s fundamental and everlasting norms guiding international relations.” (Wikipedia)
The Five Principles are: 1) Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity: 2) Mutual non-aggression; 3) Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; 4) Equality and mutual benefit; and 5) Peaceful coexistence.
At this very moment, the China-DPRK Relation seems one of China’s most important bilateral strategic relations. Why?
It seems it could be first and foremost due to their physically-attached and -adjacent geopolitical relaiton in terms of (probably) China’s strategically (militarily, economically, resourcefully) most important borderline in its northeastern area.
It could be also true due to their “blood-sharing” history of extraordinarily strategic and comradely relationship which goes way back to the days and years of both nations’ heroic and joint anti-Japanese, anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles since mid 1920s.
In the past they both greatly suffered and were humiliated by the same imperialism from both East (Japan) and the West.
But more importantly they, not only in that suffering and humiliation, also shed bloods together in their heroic anti-imperialist national liberation struggles both before the end of WWII and during the Korean War.
Though the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance signed in July 11, 1961, their almost century-long history of friendly relations in the spirit of joint anti-imperialist, self-determination, and socialist revolutionary struggle seems strategically absolutely important and necessary NOW more than any other time in their historic relations.
It seems also absolutely true due to the unprecedented thereby so grave and unpredictable challenges they face in Northeast Asia region from both covert and overt military aggressions which seemed to be very purposefully inflamed, instigated and mobilized by US through its very aggressive Tripartite (US, Japan, South Korea) Military Alliance.
The other grave challenge not only both nations but also the whole world face is, as well-known, the US-led clandestine covert strategy, the so-called “human rights issues,” i.e., the “demonization propaganda” they’ve cunningly employed whenever it’s needed.
The US-led NATO aggression in North Africa region, particularly now in Libya and Syria where they’ve sucessfully used that “human rights card,” as their “demonization propaganda” against the national leadership of both nations, is another grave and urgent challenge not only China and DPRK but also those anti-imperialist, self-determined and independent nations like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and the likes would have to deal with.
Neither countries which belong to SCO nor to BRICS or any counties close to China, as was in the case of Sudan, would be safe to say they won’t be the next probable target(s) or prey(s) of the now absolutely-naked US-led Westeran imperial aggressions.
It’d mean the Libya case could be soon somebody else’s case, if the illegal ganster-like US/NATO aggressions were not to be stopped or dissuaded this time.
The US-led Western old imperialism is doubtlessly in sure decline. However, they wouldn’t simply go away unnoticed. Instead they would certainly reattempt to return to and make their once-glorious-days resurrected.
That reattempts seem to come in the form of absolute madness of military aggressions as the whole world is surrealistically witnessing now in North African region.
The imperialism, by its nature, is destined to death. However, before it’s gone, it’s going to destroy so many others, innocent lives and civilizations with its deadly serious and most sophisticated WMDs and/or by madly wielding its unimaginably disastrous power of nuclear weapons’ stockpiles.
Therefore, BEFORE TOO LATE, they must be stopped now by any means necessary!
The imperial greed has neither reason nor conscience.
It’s only deadly sick, meaning greedy until death!
It’s absolutely destined to die. It’s born to death.
However, it takes time.
That’s why, I paradoxically argue, the almost century-long China-DPRK’s strategically fundamental relationship, in addition to the equally absolute importances of SCO’s and BRICS’ friendly relationships, is absolutely important.
It’s not for the sake of both nations or the Northeast Asia region only.
But, for a much better, much brighter and much healthier future of the whole humanity, it’s also absolutely important!
Dr. Kiyul Chung who is Editor in chief at the 4th Media is a Visiting Professor at School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University.