Last week we told you that the U.S. Has curtailed all travel to North Korea, and cancelled all visas effective the 20th of next month. In addition, China has moved thousands of troops to positions along its border with its neighbor in what the Chinese military has admitted is an effort to control the border area and handle any refugee issues that might develop. These moves by China coincide with the recent warnings of President Trump that he is considering military action over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons push.
Additionally, The Wall Street Journal, cited a review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts and they reported that China has also built new bunkers in the border area that are designed to provide protection against nuclear blasts. That comes in addion to their establishment of a new brigade strenght border unit and 24-hour surveillance of the mountainous frontier between the two countries. Sources say the moves are precautions in case of a worst-case scenario between the US and North Korea, like an economic collapse, nuclear contamination or a prolonged conventional conflict.
As yet, the Chinese government has neither confirmed or denied the reports of these preparations. According to an official from its defense ministry who said in a statement that their forces “maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training.” The spokesman also added that, “Military means shouldn’t be an option to solve the Korean Peninsula issue.”
However, Mark Cozad, a member of the Rand Corp think tank, has a different opinion. Mr. Cozad says these preparations “go well beyond” creating a buffer zone at the border. “If you’re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it’s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it’s the Korean Peninsula.”
But President Trump is still searching for better ways of increasing pressure on the rogue regime in the North, in an effort to get them to abandon their nuclear weapons program. The problem remains that the North’s recent successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile has created even more urgency as the U.S. seeks to stop North Korea before it can master the process of capping an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the United States.
President Trump is not pleased with the efforts promised by China to help stop North Koreas program. In fact economic figures show that trade between China and North Korea has increased over the last six months. As a result, the Trump’s administration is also considering other economic steps including “secondary sanctions” that could target companies and banks — mostly in China — that do even legitimate business with North Korea, officials said.
Clearly President Trump is trying all avenues to avoid a direct military action against the North, but clearly time is rapidly running out for that process.