China will intervene if the U.S. attacks North Korea first. However, China will remain neutral if North Korea is the first to fire missiles at U.S. territory. If the U.S. and South Korea launch a pre-emptive strike and try to overthrow the leadership in North Korea, China would come to North Korea’s aid, according to the state-run Global Times.
The bold statement was delivered on Thursday through an editorial in the Chinese state-run newspaper and comes during a time in which both the United States and North Korea continue to engage in aggressive exchanges.
The newspaper stated, Beijing should make it clear that “if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral.”
The Global Times went on to reiterate that if the U.S. and its ally South Korea take on Pyongyang and try to “overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
The newspaper, which is published by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, cautioned that the latest developments have been viewed in Beijing with growing frustration and deep concern.
The published piece noted that Beijing was unable “to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time… when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”
Amid heightened tensions in the region, on Monday, Beijing staged “large-scale” military exercises that included dozens of ships, fighter jets, and submarines which are set adjacent to the Korean Peninsula, according to Reuters. The drills come just months after moving 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea.
According to a Foreign Ministry statement, all parties should “speak and act with caution” as well as build up trust rather than “taking turns in shows of strength.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for China to rein in North Korea. Just last month, the rogue state conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that it said could strike the United States.
Earlier in the week, tensions escalated further when President Donald Trump stated that his previous threat to unleash “fire and fury which the world has never seen” was perhaps not “tough enough.”
On Thursday, Trump said the North Koreans “better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.”
The statement from Trump came after Pyongyang ridiculed his “fire and fury” remark by calling it a “load of nonsense.”
China would join fight on side of North Korea if the U.S. launches a preemptive strike https://t.co/XAXMYnJNkw pic.twitter.com/TNqHOkbDfn
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 11, 2017
Pyongyang revealed a detailed plan to launch missiles against the U.S. Pacific air base on Guam would be completed soon. Following this announcement, U.S. military signaled it could dispatch strategic B-1 bombers to target North Korea’s missile launch sites, underground facilities, and other installations, according to RT.
The Global Times said the exchange of words is such a “reckless game” that may result in dire consequences.
Pavel Zolotarev, a retired Russian major general, told RT that decision making in Washington goes “beyond rational logic” and there are unforeseen consequences as both parties seem to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
Zolotarev said Pyongyang’s threat to target Guam should not be taken lightly.
According to the retired general, the North Korean military could inflict damage to U.S. forces in conventional conflict due to their higher combat readiness and military morale.
On Friday morning, Trump informed the public through his Twitter feed that military solutions are fully in place should North Korea engage in additional provocative actions.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
North Korea has responded with more chilling threats. On Thursday, state media said that a plan to fire four missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam would be ready within days.
The relationship between China and North Korea has become strained in the last several years. However, China has a strong interest in preventing Kim Jong Un’s regime being overthrown and losing a key buffer state.
It should be noted that in 1961, the countries signed a Sino-North Korean Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which means, if North Korea is attacked, China would be legally obliged to “immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.”
[Featured Image by FreshStock/Shutterstock]