Korean Peninsula

China Facts: North Korea as a Buffer Zone - North Korean Refugees

How does China's continuing political relationship with North Korea affect North Korean refugees? The Korean peninsula is still at war. No peace agreement has been signed as fighting between North and South stopped in 1953. There are about 29,000 US troops and marines currently stationed in South Korea. South Korea adds about 655,000 active troops to this force.

The Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ), which splits North and South Korea, is currently the most militarized border in the world.

For China to continue to grow economically, they must maintain stability. What this means is simple: No war.

Korean Military forces
Korean Military forces

China wants to keep this military standoff, involving not only the Koreas, but the United states, as far from its borders as possible.

"For the Chinese, stability and the avoidance of war are the top priorities," Daniel Sneider, the associate director for research at Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center, told the Council on Foreign Relations.

China has many interests in North Korea as a strategic partner, none of these interests are in the people who have been suffering since the mid-1990s, many of whom have, as North Korean refugees, come into their borders in search for help. It is, in fact, in the best interests of the Chinese government to reject the North Korean refugees who cross into China, as its desire to appease North Korea as their buffer zone is greater than its desire to harbor North Korean immigrants.

Prayer for the North Korean People: Typhoon Bolaven

Please pray for the North Korean people and North Korean refugees today. East Asia, especially the Korean Peninsula, currently braces for what appears to be a strong weather system. Typhoon Bolaven is set to hit the west coast of the Korean Peninsula today. From here, the typoon will barrel up the west coast into Northeast China. This is an area where many North Korean refugees are in hiding.

The North Korean people have already suffered from floods this year, which resulted in the death of an estimated 170 citizens, according reports from the The Guardian. The Guardian also reported 400 citizens missing, approximately 84,000 of the North Korean people rendered homeless due to the flooding earlier this summer. The arrival of Bolaven will no doubt make things worse and do further damage to the Hwanhae Province, where it will make landfall.

In North Korea is already a flood-soaked land with an infrastructure that cannot handle a large-scale natural disaster. This weather event has the potential to be catastrophic for its people. Let's pray that God would have mercy on the North Korean people as they brace themselves for Typhoon Bolaven.


*This is footage from earlier this year showing the flooding that has already occurred in North Korea.