World War 3: Why China’s deteriorating relations with North Korea should worry us

Saturday, January 6, 2018
By Paul Martin

CHINA could pose more of threat to North Korea than the United States if simmering tensions in the region boil over into war, experts have warned.

Sat, Jan 6, 2018

Relations between the neighbours have deteriorated at an alarming rate and there are growing fears that Beijing could turn on its ally.

President Xi Jinping has been doing some serious sabre-rattling over the last few days, ordering his People’s Liberation Army to step up drills and digital combat readiness as the world’s second-biggest army launched unprecedented nationwide winter exercises.

Troops in 4,000 sites across the country have been taking part in simultaneous drills in the armed forces’ annual new year exercises.

Mr Xi said: “We will forge a powerful military that is ready to respond to the call, to fight and to win a war.

“All attention should be paid to making preparations for war, and all the work should be directed towards war.”

The heightened rhetoric comes as the ties between China and North Korea continue to fray.

Observers have also note that Beijing has been encouraging official and semi-official discourse about preparations for war on the Korean peninsula.

The limited leaking of a discussion of plans for an exodus of North Koreans into China’s Changbai county also caused consternation in Pyongyang.

he Friendship Bridge in Dandong, which links China to North Korea has been closed “for repairs” and Beijing has pledged to implement UN sanctions.

But a report that US-China discussions on contingency planning were taking place will really have put the cat among the pigeons in Pyongyang – such talks had always previously been a no-go zone for the Chinese government.

Analysts believe the weakened state of the alliance between China and North Korea was highlighted in the aftermath of the visit of Xi Jinping’s envoy Song Tao to Pyongyang one month ago.

There was frustration that Kim had not seen it fit to speak with Song Tao and the erratic dictator was criticised for walking away from his family’s legacy of co-operating at least verbally with China on the long-term goal of denuclearisation.

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