A Chinese state-run newspaper reported on Friday that if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, then China would stay neutral. But if the United States moves first against North Korea and tries to overthrow the government, China will stop them.
This information comes in the midst of heated rhetoric between the North Korean and American governments. President Trump warned Pyongyang against attacking Guam or other U.S. allies after plans were disclosed to fire missiles over Japan to land near the Pacific territory.
China has repeatedly called for calm during this recent crisis. They are North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner. China is frustrated by Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, but they are also frustrated with how South Korea and the United States seem to escalate the tensions.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said 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. ”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.”
The biggest worry for China is the flood of refugees that may cross their border if there is a war on the Korean Peninsula. They also do not want a reunified Korea that would ally themselves with the United States. North Korea serves as a buffer between China and U.S. forces in South Korea.
The report from the Global Times said that China would “firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned. The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic benefit of all the parties converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region.”
In a war of words, these words from China may very well be the most threatening of all. Of course, the other question is, does China count Guam as US soil? However, on the flip side, this may put Kim Jung Un in his place. He now knows that if he fires a missile at the US, we just got the green light from China to strike back.