As international experts look for clues to help them decide where the growing tensions between the United States and North Korea will ultimately lead, a new series of articles from a Chinese state-run newspaper cannot be taken as anything but a dire omen of things to come.
The Jilin Daily, a newspaper published in a Chinese province near the North Korean border, has just printed a page of articles meant to inform residents of what they can do in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. The articles, which include illustrations informing readers about the dangers of radiation exposure and texts elaborating on the damage caused by a nuclear explosion, demonstrate how seriously the Chinese government takes the threat of impending war.
From Bloomberg, who first reported the story for the U.S.:
One article listed essential items for emergency kits, including fire extinguishers and breathing masks. Another warned that air raids could mean nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, and used the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima as an example.
The cartoon images illustrated how residents should clean their bodies, boots and coats after being exposed to radiation. They suggested taking iodine tablets, if there is radiation nearby.
The warnings came as the U.S. deployed a B-1B Lancer bomber for aerial exercises around the Korean peninsula Wednesday, in an apparent show of force against Kim’s provocations. North Korea, which last week launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, said ahead of the drills that it would consider the “highest-level hard-line countermeasure in history,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Whether this is just one newspaper editor’s idea of an interesting feature or an indication of where the Chinese government’s collective head is at on North Korean tensions is anyone’s guess. It would be a damn shame, though, if the latter were the case, because it would indicate that China has gone as far as it is willing to go in an effort to put pressure on Kim Jong Un. Without the fuel they get from their communist benefactors, North Korea’s rocket program is finished. And that’s only one example of many when it comes to the ways China is propping up this rogue menace to the planet’s security. If they wanted to clamp down on Kim tomorrow, this would be resolved by Christmas. But because they are more concerned with a unified Korea than with the possibility of all-out war, they keep playing this awkward dance of pacification.
It’s time for the Trump administration to use any and all economic means necessary to force China to make the choice of a lifetime. This is the one avenue we have yet to exhaust in the pathway to avoid war, and we don’t have any other alternatives left. Our bet is that China will ultimately back down and comply with our demands. But if we’re wrong, we can at least look back and say we did everything we could to avoid the inevitable. When the damage is done, we doubt China will be able to say the same.