China Warns Trump: “We Will Back North Korea If The US Strikes First”

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

All day Saturday, South Korea braced for a possible new missile test by North Korea as the provocative northern neighbor marked its founding anniversary, just days after its sixth and largest nuclear test rattled global financial markets and further escalated tensions in the region. Throughout the week, South Korean officials warned the North could launch another intercontinental ballistic missile, in defiance of U.N. sanctions and to further provoke the US. As Reuters reports, Pyongyang marks its founding anniversary each year with a big display of pageantry and military hardware. Last year, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on the Sept. 9 anniversary.

Ultimately, September 9 came and went, and North Korea did nothing, perhaps signalling its eagerness to de-escalate. Or perhaps not, and Kim is simply looking to surprise his adversaries with the ICBM launch date. Experts have said the rogue, isolated regime is close to its goal of developing a powerful nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States, something Trump has vowed to prevent.

Celebrating its founding anniversary, a front-page editorial of the Saturday edition of North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun said the country should make “more high-tech Juche weapons to continuously bring about big historical events such as a miraculous victory of July 28.”. The July date refers to the intercontinental ballistic missile test (Juche is North Korea’s homegrown ideology of self-reliance that is a mix of Marxism and extreme nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather).

* * *

Meanwhile, South Korean nuclear experts, checking for contamination, said on Friday they had found minute traces of radioactive xenon gas but that it was too early to link it to Sunday’s explosion. The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) said it had been conducting tests on land, air and water samples since shortly after the North Korean nuclear test on Sunday. There was no chance the xenon “will have an impact on South Korea’s territory or population”, the agency said.

What is more concerning, however, is a Friday report on NBC, according to which Trump is readying a package of diplomatic and military moves against North Korea, including cyberattacks and increased surveillance and intelligence operations, after the nation’s sixth and largest nuclear test.

Trump’s top national security advisers walked him through a range of options over lunch in the White House on Sunday, just hours after North Korea’s latest test, officials said.

According to NBC, Trump is also seriously considering adopting diplomatically risky sanctions on Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang and upgrading missile defense systems in the region, administration officials said. In addition, the administration is not ruling out moving tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea should Seoul request them, a White House official said, though many consider such a move a nonstarter. It would break with nearly three decades of U.S. policy of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. officials have also made the case to China that if Beijing doesn’t take stronger steps against North Korea, such as cutting off oil exports, South Korea and Japan are likely to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs and the U.S. won’t stop them, the official said. “It’s more a message for China than North Korea,” the official said.

The U.S. has adopted sanctions aimed at Chinese entities that conduct business with North Korea, but has so far held back on broadly targeting China’s banking system. China has told U.S. officials it would protest such a move diplomatically and retaliate, according to the senior administration official.

So what happened on Sunday? According to NBC, Trump’s national security advisers presented him with U.S. military options, including pre-emptive strikes, and nuclear capabilities should America be called on to abide by its treaty obligations in the region, White House and defense officials said.

The president’s advisers have made the case, however, that military strikes on North Korea could have serious repercussions, senior defense officials said, and the most glaring among these is that China has told administration officials that if the U.S. strikes North Korea first, Beijing would back Pyongyang, a senior military official told NBC.

China Warns Trump: "We Will Back North Korea If The US Strikes First"

This is not the first time China has warned the US not to escalate: on August 11, Beijing, through the state-owned media, cautioned the US president on Friday that it would intervene (militarily) on North Korea’s behalf if the US and South Korea launch a preemptive strike to “overthrow the North Korean regime,” according to a statement in the influential state-run newspaper Global Times.

“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,” it said.

At the same time, the Chinese regime made it clear that its preferred outcome would be a continuation of the status quo, warning Kim Jong Un, or perhaps Trump, that it would “remain neutral if North Korea were to strike first.”

As we said almost one month ago:

“not surprisingly, analysts have compared the standoff between the two nuclear powers (the North is a recent, if untested, member of this club) to a modern day Cuban Missile crisis.  “This situation is beginning to develop into this generation’s Cuban Missile crisis moment,” ING’s chief Asia economist Robert Carnell said in a research note. “While the U.S. president insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution.

Since then, the potential risks, mutual threats and near-hostilities have grown exponentially. China – which is by far North Korea’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 92% of two-way trade last year, and also provides hundreds of thousands of tonnes of oil and fuel to the impoverished regime – has only dug in deeper, explaining repeatedly that it wants a peaceful de-escalation and that it would not side with the US in case of a military conflict.

* * *

What happens next? Well, on one hand, after today’s lack of launch, there is hope that things will indeed de-escalate. A headline that just hit from Yonhap may accelerate this:

  • SOUTH KOREA SEES NO SIGNS OF IMMINENT ADDITIONAL PROVOCATIONS BY NORTH KOREA THAT COULD LEAD TO ANOTHER MISSILE OR NUCLEAR TEST: YONHAP

On the other hand, what the US does next may be a sufficient provocation to force Kim to lob another ICBM. Earlier today, Reuters reported that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier left its home port in Japan for a routine autumn patrol of the Western Pacific, a Navy spokeswoman said. That area included “waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula.” North Korea vehemently objects to military exercises on or near the peninsula, and China and Russia have suggested the United States and South Korea halt their exercises to lower tension.

Another imminent escalation is due on Monday.

That’s when the United States told the U.N. Security Council that it intends to call a meeting to vote on a draft resolution establishing additional sanctions.  U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said last Monday that she intended to call for a vote on Sept. 11 and then the United States circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council on Wednesday.

The United States wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban its exports of textiles and the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad, and to subject Kim Jong Un to an asset freeze and travel ban, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear how North Korean allies China and Russia would vote, but a senior U.S. official on Friday night expressed scepticism that either nation would accept anything more stringent than a ban on imports of North Korean textiles. Chinese officials have privately expressed fears that imposing an oil embargo could risk triggering massive instability in its neighbor.

Meanwhile, tensions are also growing between China and South Korea. The two countries have been at loggerheads over South Korea’s decision to deploy the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system, which has a powerful radar that can probe deep into China. Shares in South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor and key suppliers slid on Friday on worries over its position in China after highly critical Chinese state newspaper comments. Recently Hyundai auto sales in China have crashed as local suppliers and potential customers have shied away from the company due to nationalistic prerogatives. The military section of China’s Global Times newspaper on Thursday referred to THAAD as “a malignant tumor”.

The good news, for markets, is that this Saturday’s widely anticipated ICBM launch from North Korea did not take place; the bad news is that said launch was at best delayed, and if and when it comes, the US will have to choose: do nothing again, and appears increasingly weak on the global diplomatic arena, or retaliate, and risk dragging China into the conflict, potentially precipitating the appearance of mushroom clouds around the globe.

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  • FlorianGeyer

    Trump should have been a grave digger. He is digging the grave of the US very successfully .

    He still has a lot of work to do though as the US is now so bloated and is carrying so much debt that it will need to be a very deep grave in order to prevent the gasses and hot air of the US corpse oozing out of its grave.

  • χρηστος

    very bad decision on behalf of China. kim is a loose canon, a madman. They should intervene in order to stop him from being a threat to the whole region. that would make all earth saying cograts to china. now everyone thinks china is the same as Kim. a threat. on the other hand. kim is a ‘usefull idiot’ for the US .japan is buying arms ,Korea is too everyone is buying anti missile batteries to help them against Kim……made in US of course

    • jade villaceran

      How can you support the usa for the de escalation when the usa keep waving thier war machine in the peninsula, if the US is really serious in the de escalation in the koreas, they should stop their military exercises in the peninsula and maybe decrease their military bases there

      • χρηστος

        you got me wrong. i dont support the US anywhere. but lets face the facts. military drills are pointless. they are not an act of agression. every serious army conducts drills all over the world. BUT launching a missile over Japan is an act of war. The Koreas have not ended the war officialy. so as long they are at war military bases express their allies support (the US support) and nothing more. As i said. Kim is a usefull idiot for the US. imagine having another leader for North Korea. a ‘normal’ one….not a dictator. a sane one. no weapons for the whole region.no neeed for so many military bases…..etc etc….so in my opinion Kim is a US supporter more than i am

        • YuiYui

          If NK didn’t have weapons, USA would immediately invade. It is precisely all those weapons and Kim’s hardline approach that ensure NK’s continued existence.

          • χρηστος

            yes but nukes in the hands of a madman is not making me happy.

        • Samuel Boas

          The North needs these nukes. They have to have them as a last resort, a buffer against the Americans. Look at what happened in Libya after Gadaffi gave up his arsenal.

          • χρηστος

            indeed without them an invasion whould have happened years ago.but nukes on the hand of a madman…..?not safe

        • George King

          “military drills are pointless. they are not an act of aggression”

          You must study the death and destruction on the Korean both north and south from the US Korean War and re-evaluate your thinking as it is a matter of survival (see Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Arab Spring…….), it is a matter of survival there is no trust just Empire death and destruction of pillage and plunder.

          • gustavo

            If North Korea makes with Cuba a drill close to Miami, for sure, will be qualify by UN and USA and all the world as an act of aggression, am I wrong ?

          • RichardD

            The North Koreans don’t need Cuba:

            “According to a report published by BBC in 2010, “The North Korean military is in possession of a fleet of about 70 submarines, comprised of approximately 20 Romeo class submarines (1,800 tons), 40 Sang-O class submarines (300 tons) and 10 midget submarines including the Yono class submarines (130 tons).”

            List of active North Korean ships – Wikipedia
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_North_Korean_ships

          • χρηστος

            trust me i know this. I have relatives that fought in the korean War.!

        • You can’t call 100,000 troops with all the bells and whistles practising how to invade and destroy N/Korea right on their doorstep “not an act of aggression.” That they should go play that game FAR away from N/Korea – of course it’s aggressive. It’s extremely aggressive,

          As for the missile launch being an “act of war” —- how high was it?
          Yes, it does count. And well…. maybe you feel one rule for some and another rule for others is the right way to go but I am seriously unimpressed with whines of int. law from (i) nations that break int law with nauseating regularity themselves and from (ii) their “allies” who help and support them doing it.

          • χρηστος

            ok….let me say something else. Greece and Turkey although they are NATO allies they have military drills all the time. they are conducted on the border area just because thats were the conflict will take place. you cant practice in a lake and expect troops to do well in a battle on a desert. Turkey goes one step above this and conducts drills inside the national borders of Greece because they are in international waters……so…common practice…..i agree with the rest ….US cannot use int. law when it suits them…….

          • Turkey goes one step above this and conducts drills inside the national
            borders of Greece because they are in international
            waters ……so…common practice.

            ——————————-
            I’m aware Turkey invades Greek airspace daily and NATO does nothing about it but I wasn’t aware that Turkey conducts drills inside the national borders of Greece without the approval of Greece. Is that you’re saying?

            And I’m pretty sure that if Turkey was running a 100.000 troop strong with all those bells and whistles practice invasion of Greece just off their coast the Greeks wouldn’t be whining to NATO they’d be screaming blue murder in the UN. And do I need to point North Korea and the US are NOT allies – not even “just on paper?”

            This behavior is an extreme act of aggression.

          • χρηστος

            as i said military drills are very frequent .Turkey practices river crossing almost every month (where the river is the natural border between the 2 countries). as for the naval drills ….(pic 1)http://www.tilegrafima.gr/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/uoer.jpg
            check this.international waters but inside the greek borders. how about that as an act of aggression?
            http://www.newsbeast.gr/files/1/2017/05/trkma2.jpg
            (pic.2)what about this?they ‘accidentally’ included a zone that is not international water……
            (to clarify the map.the greek borders include all islands)
            Furthermore as you said we have armed fighters conducting ‘fake’ aerial combats every day. No international law here ,no threat for peace. nothing.just to armies waiting for a spark to ignite the fire of war.
            anyway as you said.using international law as it suits you (as us does) makes it just a useless piece of paper eventually. thats the heritage the US will leave .Invaded almost every country in middle east, manipulated the UN (guardian of I. Law and order) to give their blessing.

        • Tommy Jensen

          Come on.
          Military drills was the pre-text to invasion and bombing of Iraq m.m.

          • χρηστος

            for how many years have military drills taking place in S. Korea….every year?for the last 100 years?

    • YuiYui

      Kim is neither a loose cannon, nor a madman – that’s just MSM propaganda. He knows precisely what he’s doing. NK needs to have nukes in order to forever prevent US invasion – just look at Libya and Iraq, and what happens when you rely on “international law” to protect you from US aggression. So far, NK exists solely by China’s support (which has been waning in recent decades, however) and the threat of destroying SK through conventional weapons (but it’s not like americans would care too much about a few million dead gooks – after all, they killed a similar amount just a few decades earlier themselves). Having a nuclear weapon capable of striking US guarantees Kim safety, which is why he will continue developing it even if USA imposed a million sanctions on it.

      • χρηστος

        i agree 100% except from the part on Kims mental stability.

    • You can call me Al

      I personally think you have the whole thing backwards regards Kim and NK.

      Regards to “kim is a ‘useful idiot’ for the US .japan is buying arms ,Korea is too everyone is buying anti missile batteries to help them against Kim……made in US of course” – you are spot on.

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      Take and chuck out the western propaganda and realize the US is just out to make their own stories up about him since everything is told by an CIA propaganda perspective. The US even lied about the translation in 2012 an got caught for that, trust the US to push their own agendas. They illegally invaded Korea and started all the problems today with their merciless bombing of it’s civilian population. Now carefully ask yourself this question how would you like to be on the receiving end of an US illegal attack and how would you respond afterwards.

      • χρηστος

        well ok…i agree but i wouldnt theat the whole world with a nuclear holocust …..

    • Kim is not a threat.
      He’s not going to invade, bomb, nuke anyone FIRST. That’s it – so stop listening to Goddàmned Yanks who lie and toot trumpets every time they open their mouths,

      You should know by now – THEY LIE.

      • χρηστος

        thats what im saying as well…..he is a dog thats barking all the time but will not bite. he is the main actor in a US play. He is a puppet…..he threatens everyone in the region …everyone in the region buys US missiles etc.who wins?one last thing…..all regims especially fasists have one thing in mind.their survival .thats why the dont have elections, they dont tolerate opposition or even free speach

    • gustavo

      Stop watching CNN.

      • Solomon Krupacek

        kim is like red khmers

        but you can go there to live ;)

      • χρηστος

        im talking about what im reading on S.F…this article…..this is my opinion….

  • George King

    “South Korea and Japan are likely to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs and the U.S. won’t stop them, the official said. “It’s more a message for China than North Korea,” the official said.”

    There have been signs of both Japan & South Korea are turning towards the East China and Russia in both trade and security issues as the rest of the world no longer doubts that the Empire is in death throes and is running a muck endangering world stability and chaos. So for the US statement above is more theater of the absurd…..

  • Dod Grile

    The Murder Inc war racketeers should leave the Korean Peninsula (ALL OF IT) immediately.

    Let peace prevail on Earth.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/957a9c8266434de9a935f679ff06d0070f2bef1a2b6072557fe313d7227c4cb4.jpg

  • Zainab Ali

    kudos to china for putting her foot down for north korea … just like how russians aid syria now

    • χρηστος

      totally different case i think

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    China can ban dollar currency in export goods…..can damage seriusly US dollar currency!

    • Should demand payment in yuan or ruble.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      hahaha

  • “ban …. the hiring of North Korean laborers abroad,
    —————-
    So now they are targeting poor migrant labourers?
    These wonderful Americunt sanctions that aren’t supposed to be targeting the PEOPLE of N/korea!
    Phücking Yankee LIARS LYING again. What they do best.

  • China, remember to tell them braindead Yanks that at least every second day.
    They might be able to remember that long – but not any longer.

  • gustavo

    Russia and China are with North Korea side, and I hope USA is able to understand this. Otherwise, WWIII will appear all of a sudden, for a big shame of humanity as a whole.

  • RichardD
  • RichardD
    • Solomon Krupacek

      fleet of shit in ocean :DDDD

  • RichardD
  • RichardD
  • RichardD