The hope that America could solve its North Korean problem by taking Kim Jong Un out with a quick military strike and a regime change hit a sour note yesterday as China announced it would stop America from doing so.However, there is some good news. China has also announced that should North Korea strike the United States, it will remain neutral.
China made these views known via an editorial in its English-language state paper, the Global Times:Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. 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.
China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral. 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.
This stance by China may be somewhat of a setback for the Trump administration, which may have understandably preferred the option of a preemptive strike against Pyongyang rather than a retaliatory strike after Kim hits – or comes close to hitting – the U.S., a U.S. territory like Guam, or a U.S. ally like Japan or South Korea.This option may still remain a possibility for Trump, of course. However, if China’s strong objection to it, it has become much less attractive.
But this announcement that China “will stay neutral” is a significant victory for Trump, which had made Chinese cooperation in U.S. efforts against Kim a priority.
With a neutral China, North Korea would have little chance of survival against the U.S. should the U.S. attack it in retaliation.There’s little doubt Kim Jong Un realizes this, and will hopefully consider it before sending missiles towards the United States.