Although Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month described the U.S. and North Korea as two accelerating trains that are set for a “head-on collision,” as of Wednesday, there are no indications that a U.S. military strike against Pyongyang is imminent.
President Donald Trump, however, has insisted he will no longer adhere to his predecessor’s policy of “strategic patience” toward North Korea. This suggests the administration is willing to consider the possibility of military action to prevent the North from developing a nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland.
Amid this U.S. and North Korea standoff, it remains unclear whether China would respond with force to U.S. military action against the reclusive regime.
Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS organization in Honolulu, said he doubts China would take action: “The Chinese aren’t going to war over a very ungrateful friend,” given that the North Koreans have “insulted and undermined Chinese national interests over the last couple of years.”
But some analysts say as long as any U.S. attack against North Korea aligns with China’s interests, Beijing will accept the U.S. action.