Below is a funny cartoon that appeared in the year-end issue of the Global Times, a Chinese communist government-produced daily newspaper, right next to an article about how the U.S. is acting irresponsibly by backing South Korea in their efforts against North Korea, titled, “U.S. destructive role in Northeast Asia.”
The tone of the article is incredible for a U.S. citizen to read. According to unknown author*, the U.S. will be largely to blame should a war between North and South Korea break out. Not only that, but apparently the U.S. is encouraging the South to 1) engage in activities that are “pushing North Korea to the edge” and 2) incite a battle they will surely lose. China, meanwhile, is sympathetic to both parties, and “does not want to see any major crisis on the Korean Peninsula.”
The accompanying cartoon shows a blond U.S. cheerleader, tiny and weak, blindly cheering on a South Korean fighter who is noticeably less powerful than his North Korean opponent.
The North Korean fighter is becoming infuriated and taking a step “Over the edge,” the title of the cartoon, while the South Korean fighter is less engaged, further from the edge and defensive.
The image sums up nicely the opinion of many in China, one of North Korea’s few remaining trade allies, which is essentially that the U.S. is looking for an excuse to undermine China’s leverage in Korea. China would presumably prefer that the states keep from doing any business in Korea, and especially not do anything that might grant the U.S. power in the region in the future, so their poking fun at U.S. involvement is understandable if not expected.
A couple of telling quotes from the accompanying article: U.S. President Barack Obama has won a Nobel Peace Prize. If a second Korean war should break out during his second term in office**, a war he did nothing to prevent, would his aura of peace be shattered?
The escalation of the Korean crisis is bad news for China or Russia. However, tensions on the peninsula will provide the U.S., which is to blame for worsening intra-Korean relations with a perfect excuse to “return to Asia.”
The cartoonist, Li Rui, appears to be a former secretary to Chairman Mao Zedong, and one of the senior communist party members who, funnily enough, penned an open letter to the National People’s Congress calling for an end to censorship. Annoyingly little else can be found about Li Rui through a google search (done in China.)
* The article has no byline, which is the case for about half of the articles written in the Global Times.
** Because apparently Obama will win the re-election?
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