In 1997, North Korea had the best agriculture system. That’s why China should have been impressed.
Something went wrong.
“Look at the grains!” North Korea exclaimed proudly, throwing his arms out toward his fields. “And look over there! Don’t the potatoes look strong and brave? The rice is zealous and full of life. These fields have been blessed by Juche.”
“This is fine,” China said politely as he brought his hands behind his back. “But I believe there could be improvement. Reforms, that is. Blah, blah… township system… Something something… village enterprise… Such and such, Chinese style…”
China’s word fell on deaf ears because North Korea had tuned out right from the start. Rather, his whole body froze as a very loud and dangerous wailing started going off in his head, not unlike the apocalyptic sound of a nuclear alarm siren.
And when the siren stopped, North Korea screamed. “Traitor!”
China’s eyes shot open. “Excuse me?”
“Traitor! You came here to force your treacherous reforms on me! You’re a traitor to socialism!”
China’s eyes narrowed and he hissed like the back-stabbing snake that he was. “How dare you . After all I’ve done — all I’ve suffered for you — you think you have a right to stand here and accuse me of being a traitor? I suppose this means you don’t want this traitor’s food aid anymore?”
North Korea gasped. “Monster.”
“Now I’m a monster!”
“You won’t do it.”
“Are you willing to make that gamble?”
North Korea gasped again, with much more indignation this time, and whipped out his clunky Nokia. He furiously dialed a number. (Cell reception was surprisingly good in these fields. Must have been the juche.)
China’s brow furrowed. “What are you doing?”
Going straight for the jugular.
“Yes, Taiwan?” North Korea said, words rushed. “Hello, this is the Democratic People’s — ” China made a move, like some kind of wolf lunging at a rabbit. North Korea, always so quick and agile, swerved out of the way.
Taiwan. That was China’s weak spot — strike it, and you’re guaranteed a critical hit. He didn’t want anyone, lest of all a strategic ally, getting chummy with Taiwan because that de-legitimized his claim as the One True China™.
“ — Yes, I’m calling because, oh, you remember how we talked about opening an airport of some sort to establish direct air links? Huh? Am I being chased by someone? No, why would you ask that?” The scream said otherwise, and he tumbled to the ground when China pounced. “Get off of me, you animal!”
“I won’t halt the aid!” China said between pants as his comrade wriggled under him angrily.
“I don’t believe you for a second, bastard. Show me some conviction!”
“I swear by it! Drop the talks with Taiwan, and I will give you the aid in full this time. No cuts, no messing around. … You have my word!”
North Korea stopped struggling and picked the phone out of the mud. Without holding it to his ear, he said quickly, “Never mind. Bye.”
Not too long after that day, China let North Korea open a consulate in the newly required Hong Kong region. Whether or not this is related to the showdown in the fields remains a mystery to this day.
This was all based on something I read in a book, which accredited the tale of this incident to “one account”, so I have no clue if any of this really happened. But, hey, rumors make good stories. Anyway, North Korea and China’s relationship is one wild ride and it’s very fun to read about.
North Korea calling China a snake, animal, etc. is rooted in his xenophobia and deep mistrust.
I didn’t have time to draw something for this, I’m sorry. I’ve failed you all.