Documents detailing China’s plans of action in case the North Korea Pyongyang government falls were leaked to Japanese media. The plans, drawn up reportedly by China’s People’s Liberation Army, described the creation of refugee camps at the China-North Korea border and special camps to detain key North Korean leaders.
Kyodo News, the Japanese agency that received the documents, explained that the purpose of the camps were to stop Pyongyang rival factions from coming into China and to prevent further harm to the Pyongyang government.
The documents also said that key military and political leaders were to be given protection from rival groups as well as other “military powers,” thought to be reference to the United States and South Korea. The planners stressed that undesirable foreign influence should be kept from further entering the region as well as saying that this would likely be the cause of North Korea’s fall. “The possible causes of upheaval in the North include an attack by an unnamed foreign force that triggers the collapse of the regime, sending civilians and soldiers across the border with China.”
Though China is allies with North Korea, they recently stepped up to say that they would “by no means allow war or chaos to occur on our doorstep” in the wake of North Korea’s third nuclear test. Kim Jong Un’s regime has not been on good terms with Beijing authority since the expectation of a fourth nuclear test to most likely happen.
Being North Korea’s last major financial and economic backer, China supplies their fellow communist country with energy, weapons, and food. The lack of faith held in the longevity of Kim Jong Un’s reign could show the unstable holdings in the area.
The monitoring of the 879-mile border separating the two countries is expressed to be in need of stepping up, noting that it is frequently crossed by those defecting from North Korea. The planners stressed that the fall of their ally would most likely result in a rush of refugees to the border and a humanitarian crisis of millions of people’s lives thrown into disruption.
Surprise has been expressed over the Chinese plans being leaked, questions being raised as to how it could have come to happen. Because the documents hint that China might be considering the end of its military alliance with North Korea, the validation of the plans is in question, for if China was to institute this change in policy it would most likely be done quietly and directly with Washington and Seoul rather than with a public leak.
“We need contingency plans and I am sure that the U.S. and South Korea have extensive plans in place, but the release of Chinese measures is new,” said Jun Okumurao of the Meiji Institute of Global Affairs. “What we have learned from the collapse of other dictatorships- the Soviet Union, Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya- is that the more totalitarian the regime, the harder and faster they fall.”