“Protecting North Korea’s Freedom of Choice”: Huanqiu Shibao Lead Editorial
Here is the full text of today’s (December 20) Huanqiu Shibao editorial about China’s outlook on the Kim Jong Il aftermath in North Korea. Underlined text below does not appear in the Global Times’ English language version of the piece.
中国是朝鲜平稳过渡的可靠后盾 / China is North Korea’s Reliable Support for Smooth Transition
朝鲜最高领导人金正日突然去世，中国迅速表示哀悼。这是东北亚的重要事件，无论朝鲜如何度过权力交替期，一些国家都会把这当成改变地区战略格局的契机，朝鲜的稳定和地区战略稳定都面临考验。中国此时的态度很重要。中国须坚决、明确地维护朝鲜的独立自主，保障朝鲜的权力过渡不受外部的干扰，保障朝鲜选择国家道路的自由。North Korea’s highest leader Kim Jong-il has suddenly died, and China quickly expressed its grief. This is a big event in Northeast Asia. No matter what kind of changes in power North Korea goes through, some countries will all take this opportunity for change in their strategic posture in this region . North Korea’s stability and regional strategic stability is all being tested. China’s attitude is very important at this moment. China must clearly signal that it will protect North Korea’s independent self-rule, protect North Korea’s power from being disturbed from the outside, and protect North Korea’s freedom of choice for their national way.
由于朝鲜新领导人金正恩比较年轻，一些国家对朝鲜剧变寄予期待，并有可能会为促成它的发生而采取各种行动。朝鲜是小国，放在普通的地缘政治条件下，不易承受压力。Because North Korea’s next leader Kim Jong Eun is relatively young, some countries expect huge changes in North Korea, and there is the possibility of their stimulating the appearance of all kinds of actions and activities. North Korea is a small country, and to put North Korea into normal political conditions would make it very difficult for North Korea to accept the pressure.
中国要坚决平衡外界对朝鲜施加的各种压力，做朝鲜权力平稳过渡的可靠后盾，在关键时刻为它遮风挡雨。中国态度明确所产生的力量，对朝鲜社会在过渡期保持战略信心绝非可有可无。China must establish an equal balance between the external countries’ pressure and North Korea, to be the power upon which North Korea’s stable power transition can rely [可靠后盾 kekao houdun]at this key moment of storm and stress. China’s clear attitude and production of power, without any doubt, helps North Korean society keep strategically confident during the transition.
朝鲜是中国的特殊战略伙伴，尽管其核问题等给中国带来不少麻烦，但中朝保持当前的友好关系，对我国获得周边稳定，对增加中国在东北亚、甚至在整个东亚的战略主动性都至关重要。North Korea is China’s special strategic partner. Although the nuclear problem has given China no small troubles, China and North Korea still today maintain friendly relations, helping us with regard to stability on our borders, and playing an important and increased role in China’s strategic quality of action in Northeast Asia, and in the whole of East Asia.
中国国内一直有人认为中国为维系中朝关系付出了太多，而中国早已有过阿尔巴尼亚、越南的前车之鉴。这是给中国崛起的大战略算小账。国际关系从来此一时彼一时，中国用于交朋友的花费再怎么高，也比对付一个更恶劣战略环境有利得多，花费少得多。In China, there are some people who always think that China has helped North Korea too much in the relationship. However, China has already “learned lessons from our predecessors” in experiences helping Albania and Vietnam. [Relations with North Korea] are just a little bit of money in [the context of] China’s rise and great strategic plan. In international relations, epochs of history are not identical, and the cost of making friends is high, but would be much higher in a worse strategic environment.
事实上中国已为今天的中朝关系经营了几十年。如果中国任由其他国家和势力动摇中朝合作的战略根基，那才是中国外交的前功尽弃。这样的中国会被所有研究大国政治的人嘲笑。Actually, China today has kept relations with North Korea for so many decades. If China were to let other countries disturb and change the basis for its strategy of Sino-North Korean cooperation, for China’s diplomacy, this would be to “relinquish the gains of past labor.”
大国的战略信誉对中国越来越重要，中国要敢于为朋友担当，而不可在关键时刻退缩。这样，中国的朋友就会越来越多，反之会越来越少。The strategic trust [credit] of great countries is more and more important to China; China must do something for its friends, but it cannot retreat from the crucial point. In this way, China will have more and more friends. If [it takes the other path], China will have fewer and fewer friends.
从长远看，中国应该影响但不强制干预朝鲜国内的政治方向，尽量促成朝鲜走上正常、可持续的发展和安全之路。中国干涉朝鲜内政既累又不现实，但放弃影响则可能导致严重违背中国利益结果的出现。中国应长期做对朝鲜最有影响力的大国，但任何时候都不应试图对朝鲜国内政治进行操纵。Taking the long view, without forced intervention, China must influence North Korea’s internal political direction, trying its best to encourage North Korea in normal ways to take the path of sustainable development and security. Chinese intervention in North Korea’s internal affairs is a tired and unreal [assumption of the West], but for China to give up its influence will obviously severely hamper the results of China’s advantages.
建议中国高级别官员及早以适当的名义赴朝鲜访问，在这个特殊时期保持与朝鲜新领导人的密切沟通，向平壤也向世界释放中国支持朝鲜权力平稳过渡的清晰信号。As soon as it is appropriate, Chinese high-level leaders will go to North Korea, and there they will intimately communicate with North Korea’s new leaders at this special time that Pyongyang can send a distinct signal to the world about China’s aid to North Korea’s peaceful transition of power.
中国还应与俄罗斯加强协调对朝鲜半岛的立场，与韩美日及时通报朝鲜的情况和中国的态度，确保自己在后金正日时代的环朝鲜政治局势的构建中，处于积极主动地位，延续中国过去在朝鲜半岛问题上的独特优势。China still has to take a stance, along with Russia, toward the Korean peninsula, taking the attitude that North Korea should have increased cooperation with South Korea, the U.S., and Japan. In the environment of the post-Kim Jong Il era, amid North Korea’s construction of political power, China must continually actively position itself, continuing the past special successes of solving problems on the Korean peninsula.
中国不必担心会因明确支持朝鲜平稳过渡，而导致与韩美日的紧张。恰恰相反，中国支持稳定、反对动荡的态度越明确，其他国家与朝鲜发生新摩擦的可能性就越小。这同样是中国让各方适应中朝友好不受朝鲜权力交班影响的过渡。说到底，中朝友好是当前东北亚保持稳定的重要基石。China does not need to worry that its support of a stable relationship with North Korea will cause worry to South Korea, the U.S., and Japan. China supports stability, and takes an attitude of clear opposition to upheaval. [Because of this clarity] the possibility of outside countries having issues with North Korea is accordingly smaller. Similarly, this means that Sino-North Korean friendship cannot be effected by the change of power in North Korea. In a word, Sino-North Korean friendship is the most important cornerstone of today’s stability in Northeast Asia.