Chinese state-run news agency Global Times says that if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, President Trump can turn Pyongyang into a parking lot. If, however, the U.S. launches a preemptive strike against N. Korea, China “will stop them,” according to the report.
The widely read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.
“It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand,” said the paper, which does not represent government policy.
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”
As North Korea’s largest ally and trading partner, questions about whether or not China would defend them, remain neutral, or even join U.S. forces have been looming.
Last month the Wall St. Journal reported that China was beefing up defenses along its 880 mile border with N. Korea in order to stop refugees from entering the country.
Although technically allied to Pyongyang, Beijing wouldn’t necessarily defend its regime, but is determined to prevent a flood of North Koreans from entering northeastern China and to protect the population there, U.S. and Chinese experts say.
Recent measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, according to the websites.
China has also been conducting live-fire drills along the border with special forces and other units in the area, including airborne troops which could be sent into North Korea at a moment’s notice. In June, the Chinese military held exercises with helicopter gunships, and in July an armored infantry unit was transferred near the border and equipped with new weapons.
Geared towards defense, border security, and swift action
While Chinese authorities have been preparing for trouble over North Korea – including the establishment of contingency plans for nuclear contamination, economic collapse, or conventional warfare, the country’s recent changes in force structure, training, and equipment are linked to a nationwide effort to replace old Soviet-modeled command structures and out of date hardware.
China’s contingency preparations “go well beyond just seizing a buffer zone in the North and border security” said Mark Cozad, a former senior U.S. defense intelligence official for East Asia, now at the Rand Corp.
“Once you start talking about efforts from outside powers, in particular the United States and South Korea, to stabilize the North, to seize nuclear weapons or WMD, in those cases then I think you’re starting to look at a much more robust Chinese response,” he said. “If you’re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it’s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it’s the Korean Peninsula.” -WSJ
With a preemptive strike seemingly off the table (or at least much more perilous to conduct) – as Dirty Harry used to say: “Go ahead, make my day”
If you enjoy the content at iBankCoin, please follow us on Twitter