On Friday, China, which has remained relatively quiet as tensions have spiked between the United States and North Korea over the past week, recognized that “it needs to make clear its stance to all sides” and did so in an editorial in its state-run Global Times:
“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it reads. But on the flip side:
“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.”
There can be no misinterpretation. If North Korea attacks the U.S., the country is on its own. But if the U.S. tries to take out Kim Jong-un, China will defend its ally with what the editorial calls a “firm hand.”
Meanwhile, other nations in the Asia-Pacific are taking the opportunity to show their support for the United States.