This could be the decade of North Korea’s disintegration 

You are right to think that New Year’s predictions, especially the ones we now write in today’s Infonet Age, are probably not worth the ether they are written on.

After all, most are written to either amuse or shock or just to establish bragging rights in case the wackiest guess actually happens.

But every now and then, something basic clicks and it becomes clear that we have just crossed a historic threshold.

2010 was one of those years. And this is one of those decades.

Prediction: By the time this decade has ended, the world will no longer be menaced by the nuclear rogue that is North Korea.

The impoverished nuclear communist regime of North Korea will collapse for good; the two Koreas will be unified; and North Korea’s nuclear weapons fuel will be blended down as fuel for nuclear power plants that will light the North’s cities.

Here’s why: Because China’s new generation of leaders want it to happen. I believe they reluctantly reached this conclusion after North Korea committed a series of outrageous and reckless actions in 2010.

China had always feared the prospect of a North Korean collapse. But as 2010 unfolded, China’s leaders concluded that North Korea’s severe poverty and nuclear weaponry meant an out-of-control North Korea now looms as the only force capable of derailing China’s progress toward global economic superpower.

I believe all of this, but you also need to know that I do not have any single source that absolutely knows it is accurate. But in the place of these authoritative anonymous leaks, we do have a few authoritative WikiLeaks.

In February, U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens cabled Washington that South Korean diplomat Chun Yung-woo told her North Korea would collapse in “two to three years” after Kim Jong-Il dies. And that China’s emerging gleaders “would be comfortable with a reunited Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the United States in a benign alliance.”

China’s role of protecting and propping up Pyongyang has reached its end. A collapse of the rogue of the North is in everyone’s economic and security interests.

Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service.

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