After telling everyone to calm down in the wake of North Korea launching four missiles into the Sea of Japan on Monday, China is now warning both North Korea and the United States that they are rushing straight toward a “head on collision.”
During a regular press briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Yi warned of a “looming crisis” which could end in catastrophe on the Korean peninsula.
“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other with neither side willing to give way. The question is: are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?” Wang said.
China certainly hopes that the answer to that rhetorical question is no. Beijing has been working diligently at getting all sides back to the negotiating table, but have had their efforts undermined by continued missile tests from Pyongyang.
While China condemned North Korea for its missile launches, it has also placed blame on the United States for raising tensions. Last week, Washington and Seoul carried out annual joint military training exercises which never fail to catch North Korea’s ire. Viewing the drills as a dress rehearsal for an eventual invasion, DPRK state media said that the missiles were launched in order to “mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers.”
So will China be able to convince both sides to deviate from their current collision course. Following North Korea’s first missile test this year, US President Donald Trump promised to deal with the Kim Jong-un regime “very strongly.” In the past, he’s also suggested that China should make Kim “disappear.” Meanwhile, the North Korean leader seems to have a similarly loose grip on reality.
Additionally, Beijing does not appear to be the most sober voice of reason. After the US announced that it had begun delivering the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea, China responded by warning Seoul and Washington that it would bear “all the consequences” for taking the “wrong path.”
On Wednesday, Wang himself warned South Korea that it was teetering “on the brink of the precipice” by continuing with plans to install the system. He has such a way with metaphors.
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