Dear our comrades in the Democratic Republic of North Korea,
Greetings from your lifelong friends and allies from the other side of the Yalu River. You might have been alarmed by the recent comments that our new President, Xi Jingping, made at the 2013 Boao Economic Forum in Hainan, China.
During his speech, President Xi declared, “No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.” The Western media (those cursed running dogs of capitalism!) have read President Xi’s words to be a veiled criticism of your beloved leader’s recent actions, which have resulted in escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula. They speculate that we are beginning to reconsider our relationship with you, and that we might be withdrawing our support.
We want to assure you that this cannot be farther from the truth. No matter how provocative your military maneuvers may be, and no matter how ridiculous Brother Jong-un’s rhetoric (or his haircut), China will stand firmly by your side until the bitter end.
Sometimes a little deception is necessary to trick the enemy. Those Western imperialists, scared out of their wits by your courageous spirit, have put a lot of pressure on us recently. So we placate them with a few words here and there, make a couple of gestures to make them happy.
Don’t worry — we will continue to feed you, clothe you and give you guns. Sorry that we had to cut off the crude oil for a while — spring’s already here and we figured you wouldn’t freeze too much. Once the current situation dies down, we promise we’ll give you a couple more mobile missile launch pads to make up for everything.
The real reason why we’ll be forever loyal to you, however, is not because of the prospect of millions of refugees flooding into Northeastern China in the case of a regime collapse; or the fear that we’ll be surrounded by U.S. allies without you; or even Brother Jong-un’s deceptively sexy double chin. It’s because we continue to harbor illusions that your regime can be sustainable, that through a combination of ever-intensifying repression, ubiquitous propaganda and life support provided by us, you will be able defy Fate and live on forever.
You see, we’ve grown attached. We’ve invested too much in this relationship in the six decades that have passed since our fateful encounter in 1950, when both of us were so young, so brash and so naively confident in our own strength. Despite your many flaws, you and us have too much history; we have too much in common to part now.
We have long since given up trying to convert you to our path, that of an authoritarian regime presiding over a more or less open economy. You are too committed to the sacred bloodline of the Kim family, and you have ruled your people with such wisdom, benevolence and foresight that if you let them see the sufferings of the rest of the world, they wouldn’t be able to come to terms with their own privileged status as North Korean citizens.
Some people have suggested that if such an exalted regime as yours cannot long grace this Earth, China would do well to cooperate with South Korea and the U.S. now. They say that we should actively pursue a Korean Peninsula resolution that maximizes our own interests — international assistance with the refugee crisis and the establishment of a new China-friendly, nuclear-free Korean state.
Rest assured, we will never buy into such an idea. To play an active role in dismantling the North Korean regime amounts to a direct recognition of the failure of the socialist system. It would come dangerously close to admitting the mortality of our own model, which, although more sophisticated and virile, is nevertheless cut from the same cloth.
Our friends in Pyongyang, you can sleep safe tonight. We’re on your side. Whether that’s going to be enough, however, might be an entirely separate matter.
With undying love,
The People’s Republic of China
Xiuyi Zheng is a junior in Davenport College. His column runs on alternate Mondays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .