As President Donald Trump trades threats with North Korea, China is staying idle. Through assertive military exercises and statements, Beijing has warned repeatedly that it could defend North Korea if it is attacked by the United States. Yet at the same time, a series of shifts in China’s military posture near the North Korean border suggest a military increasingly willing to send forceful signals to Kim Jong Un: At times of heightened tensions, the Chinese military appears to be preparing itself for the fall of Pyongyang. Though America cannot know precisely when and how it would intervene, this much is certain: China is prepared to keep the peace on the Korean peninsula—whether the White House likes it or not.
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