President Donald Trump’s tantrums with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un are slowly but steadily leading the two countries toward nuclear war — and it looks like China is being dragged, against its will, into the mix.
Chinese national security advisers said in a conference in Beijing during Saturday that risk of war is higher than ever in the Korean peninsula because of the U.S.’ deteriorating relations with North Korea. The officials said China must prepare itself.
During his visit to South Korea last month, Trump warned Kim not to “underestimate” the U.S.
“Anyone who doubts the strength or determination of the United States should look to our past, and you will doubt it no longer. We will not permit America or our allies to be blackmailed or attacked. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction,” the president said. “We will not be intimidated.”
In response, a DPRK spokesperson told CNN, “We don’t care about what that mad dog may utter because we’ve already heard enough.”
“Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” stated Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing who advises the government on diplomacy issues.
Although China was once viewed as North Korea’s primary ally and enjoyed much sway over its neighbor, it appears the country has now lost control of the situation.
However, Shi said Trump and Kim’s war of words has exacerbated the already volatile situation between Washington, D.C., and Pyongyang to the point that war may no longer be averted. All China could now do is bide time to postpone a full-blown conflict.
“No matter whether there is war or peace, regretfully, China has no control, dominance or even a voice on the issue,” Yang Xiyu, of China Institute of International Studies, which is affiliated with China’s foreign ministry, said.
“North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,” Shi added.
In fact, China is already bracing itself for the worst.
Last week, Jilin Daily, the official newspaper of the Jilin province, which shares border with North Korea, published a full page article for citizens on how to respond in event of a nuclear attack.
Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, said this was a “signal to the country to be prepared for a coming war.”
He also said China was concerned about the risk Kim’s frequent nuclear tests were posing on the unstable geographical structures in the country.
Nanjing University professor Zhu Feng has also said China should prepare itself practically and mentally for “a catastrophic nuclear conflict, nuclear fallout or a nuclear explosion.”
“Why do we always act like ostriches? Why do we always believe a war won’t occur?” he said.
The professor also said Kim’s refusal to meet Chinese envoy Song Tao during a recent trip to North Korea was a “humiliation” for China.
Earlier this year, Trump also insulted China for not gaining enough ground with North Korea — even though the president himself is the cause of the worsening scenario.
I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Sen. Lindsey Graham said there is a 30 percent chance Trump will attack North Korea to prevent the hermit kingdom from launching nuclear-armed missile to the United States. The chance will increase to 70 percent if Kim decided to test yet another bomb.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China and Russia to increase efforts to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program. He also backtracked on his previous offer of the U.S. being open to a dialogue with the reclusive kingdom, saying Washington will not negotiate unless Pyongyang stops its “threatening behavior.”
“Each U.N. member state must fully implement all existing U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Tillerson said at the United Nations Security Council, Newsweek reported.
“For those nations who have not done so, or who have been slow to enforce Security Council resolutions, your hesitation calls into questions whether your vote is a commitment to words only, but not actions,” he added. “For countries who have not taken action, I urge you to consider your interest, your allegiances and your values in the face of this grave and global threat.”
Banner/Thumbnail credit: KCNA via Reuters