China’s Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
By Chan Kai Yee
In my article "A Dynasty on the Verge of Collapse”, I quote North Korean official news agency’s report that urges party organizations to prove their loyalty by resolving the “burning” food problem and point out that knowing well Kim Dynasty’s predicament, the regime’s three official newspaper’s joint New Year editorial even urges “the whole party, the entire army and all the people” to “become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un." Obviously, the Kim regime knows well that it is on the verge of collapse.
Recently, Kim Jong-nam, the prince who has failed to succeed to the throne, predicts his brother’s failure to maintain Kim Dynasty’s survival. Knowing well the dire situation in North Korea, Kim Jong-nam believes that King Jong-un lacks the experience to fulfill the Herculean task of resolving the food problem and improving people’s living standards. However, Kim Jong-nam forgets the China factor.
China is now at a turning point. For further economic growth to realize its dream to become too strong to be bullied by other countries, it needs a huge market, lots of natural resources and cheep labor. In order to greatly expand its domestic market, it has recently established nationwide life and medical insurance safety nets and is building millions of subsidized housing in order to make its people save less and spend more. In addition, it plans to speed up urbanization and substantially increase workers’ income.
However, when labor becomes expensive, lots of its labor-intensive factories will be in trouble. They have to move to North Korea where there is a shortage of investment and lots of cheap labor.
China is now exporting its Chinese model. Following China’s example, North Korea is now establishing Sino-North Korean joint ventures for China to utilize the natural resources and cheap labor there. North Korea will export lots of goods to China. This will make North Korea rich and greatly improve people’s living standards. North Korea will in turn become a growing market for Chinese exports. North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, if follows the Chinese model, will become popular. That will be the only way out for Kim Jong-un to maintain the survival of his dynasty.
The transformation of North Korea from poverty to prosperity will set a North Korean model that will be eagerly followed by China’s neighbors. Then the vast and populous Southeast Asia region will become sources of natural resources and cheap labor for China and a growing market for China while China will offer its huge market for those neighboring countries.
Decades ago, Japan shed lots of blood to fight for the establishment of its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere but failed disastrously. However, it seems that China will succeed in establishing a greater Asia co-prosperity sphere centered on China without firing one bullet if it succeeds in setting a North Korean model.