If North Korea crosses Beijing’s “bottom line,” China may bomb its neighbor.
China warns the North’s nuclear activities must not jeopardize northeastern China. If North Korea negatively impacts China with its illicit nuclear activities, the latter will respond with force, a Global Times editorial published on the news service for the Chinese military stressed.
“China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China,” the report stated. “If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back … By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US’ blows, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks [on] DPRK nuclear facilities on its own.”
The northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin border North Korea. Together with three other provinces, these provinces make up the Northern Theater Command.
North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site is located far from Pyongyang but disconcertingly close to China. During past North Korean nuclear tests, buildings cracked and schools were evacuated in China. With each nuclear test, the explosive yield of the nuclear bomb grows, intensifying the threat to China.
“If by any chance nuclear leakage or pollution incidents happen, the damage to northeast China environment will be catastrophic and irreversible,” the military report explained.
The commentary points out that North Korea’s nuclear facilities are “fixed and known” to the outside world, theoretically making them easier to strike. China might permanently wipe out the North’s ability to produce nuclear material for nuclear weapons.
The report also stressed that North Korea must not “fall into turmoil,” causing refugees to spill across the border. Furthermore, China will never accept a North Korean government that is hostile to Beijing, nor will it ever tolerate U.S. forces crossing the Yalu River in a conflict on the peninsula.
While the views expressed in the report may not necessarily represent the immediate views of the state, the article highlights the reality that North Korea is becoming a liability rather than an asset to the Chinese.