Chinese Government advisers and a retired senior military officer warned that China must be prepared for war anytime with North Korea. The risk of conflict seems to be moving past the saturated level and the country must be prepared for a war on the Korean peninsula.
Beijing, once seen as Pyongyang’s key ally with sway over its neighbor, was losing control of the situation, they warned. “Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” said Shi Yinhong, Renmin University international relations professor, who also advises the State Council, China’s cabinet.
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Shi said US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are locked in a vicious cycle of war threats and it is already too late for China to avert it. At best, Beijing could stall a full-blown conflict. “North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,” Shi said on the sidelines of a Beijing conference on the crisis.
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Wang Hongguang, the former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, echoed that war could break out on the Korean peninsula at any time from now on until March when South Korea and the United States held annual military drills. “It is a highly dangerous period,” Wang said. “Northeast China should mobilise defences for war.”
Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies affiliated with China’s foreign ministry, said conditions on the peninsula were at their most perilous in half a century.
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“No matter whether there is war or peace, regretfully, China has no control, dominance or even a voice on the issue,” he said. Last week, Jilin Daily, the official newspaper of the province bordering North Korea, published a full page of advice for residents on how to deal in case nuclear war breaks out.