The Chinese government sent a clear warning to Donald Trump Thursday evening, telling the President that China would remain neutral if North Korea launched an attack against American allies, but said it would defend the communist nation if President Trump struck first.
Speaking through the state-run news agency, Chinese officials said the nation would stand aside if Kim Jong Un instigated an armed conflict in the region, but added they would back North Korea if President Trump launched a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang.
The Global Times, an extension of the Chinese communist party, published an article calling for an easing of tensions on all sides, but said China would not allow the US to overthrow the North Korean dictator unless he struck first.
“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 newspaper.
“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.”
China, one of North Korea’s key trading and military partners, is fearful that a military strike in the region would spur a humanitarian disaster; sending millions of refugees across the border hoping to flee the armed conflict.
“The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region,” said the Global Times.