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Dictator of the Year: East Asia's Communist Leaders Have Much in Common

Dictator of the Year: East Asia's Communist Leaders Have Much in Common
This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken and released on January 1, 2018, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a New Year's speech at an undisclosed location. (AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, 26 February 2018 10:21 AM Current | Bio | Archive

It is not surprising that North Korea's Kim Jong Un and China's Xi Jinping were both shortlisted by Time to be "Person of the Year" in December. Dear Leader Kim and Core Leader Xi — as the Communist Party's constitution now refers to the Chinese supremo, are comrades in more than name.

Both are surrounded by flourishing personality cults — although Kim’s is far more elaborate, after three generations of Kim dynastic rule — and both run nuclear-armed, dictatorial regimes known for widespread human rights abuses.

Both have an extensive system of labor re-education camps, where dissidents of all types are locked away.

Both demand absolute loyalty from their subjects. Xi, for example, has purged some 250,000 Party and government officials over the last few years to cement his rule, using the pretext of corruption charges. It is not for nothing that President Trump has called him the "King of China."

Xi is just a taller but not leaner, older, and probably even meaner, version of the 5-foot-7-inch Korean strongman. After all, Xi had to fight his way to the top, while Kim inherited his position from his father and grandfather.

So why is North Korea an international pariah, while China largely escapes censure?

Everyone knows that "Little Rocket Man," as President Trump has dubbed Kim, has launched repeated intercontinental ballistic missiles and threatened the United States.

But so has China. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that China sought to terrorize the people of Taiwan by splashing down missiles off that island’s coast and threatened to nuke Los Angeles if the U.S. intervened. "War between the U.S. and China is inevitable," China's former Defense Minister Chi Haotian once remarked.

Kim has threatened Guam, to be sure, but the government-controlled press in China has published maps of the huge swaths of devastation that its own arsenal of nuclear-tipped ICBMs could wreak on the U.S.

In fact, this and other thuggish behavior by China may well be where Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong-il, first got the idea of engaging in nuclear blackmail against the U.S.

The two communist leaders have one other thing in common: They are obligated to come to one another's defense by the China-Korea Military Alliance Treaty. By guaranteeing to come to the aid of his North Korean comrade, Xi has given Kim that space he needs to develop both nuclear weapons and missiles.

Xi has also provided his North Korean comrade with the high-tech components that he uses to build his missiles, and the fuel he needs to run his war machine.

Without China’s defensive umbrella, without its technology, without its missile and reactor components, without its trade, North Korea would never have become the kind of threat to the U.S. that it is today.

This year, on the July 11 anniversary of their Military Alliance Treaty, Comrade Xi sent a personal message of congratulations to the man he addresses as "Comrade Kim.”

“The China-North Korea friendly ties are a mutually precious treasure,” Comrade Xi assured him. “It is the steadfast policy of the Chinese Party-State to continue to deepen and develop the ties.”

Comrade Kim responded to Comrade Xi that he would deepen and develop North Korea-China friendly ties “to meet the demands of the time.”

I applaud Time for considering both of these "comrades" as candidates for the "Person of the Year." The "King of China" and "Little Rocket Man" obviously have a lot in common.

Of course, Time wound up passing over both of them in favor of the “Me Too” movement.

I suppose that was partially because it was impossible to choose between the two of them.

Steven W. Mosher is one of America's leading experts on China. In 1979 he became the first American social scientist allowed to do research in the PRC, where he documented the massive human rights abuses of the Mao years, and personally witnessed the forcible abortion and sterilization of women under the newly announced "one-child policy." In the years since, he has written or edited a dozen books on China, including best sellers "A Mother's Ordeal" and "China Attacks" (with Chuck Devore). He helped to set up Radio Free China, and has testified before Congress on U.S.-China policy on numerous occasions. His latest book is called the "Bully of Asia: Why China's Dream is the New Threat to World Order." In a world bristling with dangers, only one enemy poses a truly mortal challenge to the United States and the peaceful and prosperous world that America guarantees. That enemy is China. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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It is not surprising that North Korea's Kim Jong Un and China's Xi Jinping were both shortlisted by Time to be "Person of the Year" in December.
xi jinping, kim jong un, icbm
Monday, 26 February 2018 10:21 AM
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