"Time Is Running Out" - China Is Planning For A Crisis Along North Korean Border

Tyler Durden's picture

Despite Chinese officials reassurance that "military means shouldn’t be an option," WSJ reports that China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike.

While all eyes in America are once again distracted by "Russia"-related narratives and the dismal GOP efforts to replace, repeal, re-who-knows-what Obamacare, the threat of North Korea has not gone away... and neither has China's preparations. As President Trump stepped up the rhetoric, pressuring China to do more to 'solve' the North Korean problem, and threatening military action to halt Kim's nuclear weapons program ambitions, it is clear that China has used this crisis to not just prepare for potential problems with North Korea but to reinforce military forces elsewhere.

The Journal writes that a review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts who have studied the preparations show that Beijing has implemented many of the changes in recent months after initiating them last year.

Recent measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, according to the websites.


China’s military has also merged, moved and modernized other units in border regions and released details of recent drills there with special forces, airborne troops and other units that experts say could be sent into North Korea in a crisis.


They include a live-fire drill in June by helicopter gunships and one in July by an armored infantry unit recently transferred from eastern China and equipped with new weaponry.

China’s Defense Ministry didn’t respond directly when asked if the recent changes were connected to North Korea, saying only in a written statement that its forces “maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training” on the border.

While Chinese authorities have been preparing for North Korean contingencies - including economic collapse, nuclear contamination, or military conflict - according to U.S. and Chinese experts who have studied Beijing’s planning, perhaps more intriguing, as Mark Cozad, a former senior U.S. defense intelligence official for East Asia, now at the Rand Corp, explains..

China’s contingency preparations “go well beyond just seizing a buffer zone in the North and border security."

In other words, China is not letting a good crisis go to waste. Coad goes to note:

“Once you start talking about efforts from outside powers, in particular the United States and South Korea, to stabilize the North, to seize nuclear weapons or WMD, in those cases then I think you’re starting to look at a much more robust Chinese response."


“If you’re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it’s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it’s the Korean Peninsula.”

As The Journal further notes, Beijing also appears to be enhancing its capability to seize North Korean nuclear sites and occupy a swath of the country’s northern territory if U.S. or South Korean forces start to advance toward the Chinese border, according to those people. That, they say, would require a much larger Chinese operation than just sealing border, with special forces and airborne troops likely entering first to secure nuclear sites, followed by armored ground forces with air cover, pushing deep into North Korea. It could also bring Chinese and U.S. forces face to face on the peninsula for the first time since the war there ended in 1953 with an armistice - an added complication for the Trump administration as it weighs options for dealing with North Korea.

China has long worried that economic collapse in North Korea could cause a refugee crisis, bring U.S. forces to its borders, and create a united, democratic and pro-American Korea. But as WSJ's Ben Kesling  reports, China’s fears of a U.S. military intervention have risen since January as Pyongyang has test-fired several missiles, including one capable of reaching Alaska. In a notably outspoken article written in May, retired Maj. Gen. Wang Haiyun, a former military attaché to Moscow now attached to several Chinese think tanks, made his view clear (while carefully noting he did not speak for the PLA)...

China should “draw a red line” for the U.S.: If it attacked North Korea without Chinese approval, Beijing would have to intervene militarily.


“Time is running out,... We can’t let the flames of war burn into China.”


China should demand that any U.S. military attack result in no nuclear contamination, no U.S. occupation of areas north of the current “demarcation line” between North and South, and no regime hostile to China established in the North, his article said.


“If war breaks out, China should without hesitation occupy northern parts of North Korea, take control of North Korean nuclear facilities, and demarcate safe areas to stop a wave of refugees and disbanded soldiers entering China’s northeast,” it said.

Beijing’s interests “now clearly extend beyond the refugee issue” to encompass nuclear safety and the peninsula’s long-term future, said Oriana Skylar Mastro, an assistant professor at Georgetown University who has studied China’s planning for a North Korean crisis.

China’s leaders need to make sure that whatever happens with (North Korea), the result supports China’s regional power aspirations and does not help the United States extend or prolong its influence,” Ms. Mastro said.

In other words, China may appear to be preparing for a North Korean crisis... but is really building its capabilities should President Trump decide the time is right for more international distractions.

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Arrest Hillary's picture

Mac Arthur was right .... we should have nuked them .... when they crossed the Yalu river .... seize the historical moment ?

InsaneBane's picture

"I had actually been denied the use of my full military power to safeguard the lives of my soldiers and the safety of my army. To me, it clearly foreshadowed a future tragic situation in Korea, and left me with a sense of inexpressible shock."
- General Douglas MacArthur

The Korean War was not about victory on either side, but about validating the UN as "peacekeeper." Including civilians, some three million died on this altar to world government. When the war ended, Korea's North-South borders were restored to approximately where they had been at the outset. General Mark Clark commented: "In carrying out the instructions of my government, I gained the unenviable distinction of being the first United States Army commander in history to sign an armistice without victory."

wee-weed up's picture



No shit, ChiComs!

Trump is NOT a wussy like Obozo!

You better get your shit together...

Déjà view's picture

"Approval"...oh...Chicom does have influence over DPRK...parasite Chicom...kills U.S. host...blissful ignorance of retired Maj. Gen. Wang Haiyun...Chicom deep state MIC beliefs...

Mr.T will TELL you exactly what to expect...list $2 Tn Chicom U.S. debt holdings on Alibaba & ebay...about that yearly $350 Bn Chicom trade surplus-kiss it good-bye!

Commenwealth Nations, India, SEATO and NATO...who will they side with...

Explain that to your soon to be millions of unemployed workers...

Sleep well...Paper Tiger...

OverTheHedge's picture

It's a view, but my question would be: who will bankrupted first,and who can take the most casualties? There will be economic as well as military conflict, and the wheels may fall off the us bus first.

Also, the Chinese will be fighting for their homeland, and theoretically more motivated. Just another war for the US, they've been there before, and it didn't end well. I don't see much enthusiasm for it. I also don't see much international enthusiasm for the mega-deaths that will occur.

Hopefully cleaner heads will prevail

Supineforfun's picture

Trust me, the Chinese will handle adversity a hell of a lot better than the citizens of the USA. 


Peace out

Teja's picture

The Chinese "plan" at least makes sense - use an US attack on NK as pretext to send in troops to "support" the North Koreans, then take it over and create a puppet state. Psychologically and also otherwise (for the NK population) probably much better than a South Korean / US invasion or a continuing NK dictatorship.

BrownCoat's picture

Here is my take:

“If war breaks out, China should without hesitation occupy northern parts of North Korea, take control of North Korean nuclear facilities, and demarcate safe areas to stop a wave of refugees and disbanded soldiers entering China’s northeast,” it said.

Actually, that would be great! America would love China to control NK nuclear facilities. But that won't happen. China is lying, eh talking, again.

Neither China, nor the USSA want war. The Trump Administration has to come up with a creative way to cut the head off NK, because the Chinese won't act. China wants to expand its territory as seen with China's saber rattling in the South China Sea, East China Sea and India. Because of their aggressiveness, I do worry that Taiwan IS a target. The USSA must have enough assets ready to sink any supply lines from the mainland if China decides to invade.

OTOH, Russia may explain to the PRC that "little green men" (asymmetric warfare) can take Taiwan.  Fifth column activity is working well in the USSA; especially under Billy Clinton and Obummer.


Hugh_Jorgan's picture

"Chinese will handle adversity a hell of a lot better than the citizens of the USA"

I see this as a mixed bag on both fronts. The China that the world sees are the high-tech cities of China. Most of China is shunned by the government and so they're not far from civil unrest (weeks away) in multiple provinces at any given time. Distractions from keeping those genies in the bottle could embolden some very serious dissident groups. Aaaand, OF COURSE I'm sure our illustrious cee eye ay would never let themselves miss out on those kinds of opportunities either.

Déjà view's picture

"Question would be"...who has reserve currency...who doesn't....
DPRK Chicoms "homeland"?

Parasite Chicom kills U.S. host...who will be their next host? 'Africant'??

Take your pick...Alibaba & ebay and no more $350 Bn trade surpluses with host or 'Africant'...sure Chicom will sleep well when they travel to their vast RE holdings in host...

Corruption & Pollution are amongst Chicoms biggest adversaries...they handle it so well...those with money leave and buy RE in 5-EYES..."Trust me"...


ScratInTheHat's picture

Many people have the fantasy that China is comprised of one people that always stick together. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_minorities_in_China China goes through cycles of expansion and contraction. They are due for a contraction. As soon as there is a war they are going to start having ethnic revolts. That is just the history of the region.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

"Time Is Running Out" - China Is Planning For A Crisis Along North Korean Border

My response: WOW! So, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, USA, and others in the region have had enough of the missile tests.

I wonder what RUSSIA's position is on the matter?

Lately, I have become very uncomfortable with the US SENATE and the US CONGRESS. We have a lot of legislators that I wouldn't trust at all. 

yomutti2's picture

Actually, it would be just fine with me if China seized all of North Korea's nuclear sites. For that matter, they are welcome to all of North Korea. I only care about getting rid of the nutbars running the place now.

South Korea would be OK with that outcome as well. They talk a good game about unification, but deep down, they don't want to get stuck taking care of their retarded cousins.

As for Russia, who the fuck cares what they think? They are just a third world nation with delusions of grandeur.

Hyjinx's picture

It would be the best possible outcome if China just installed someone more agreeable or just less crazy in NK.

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

Chinese doesn't want NK as they are only a liability, all they wanted is a buffer zone between Uncle Sam and them.

Koba the Dread's picture

Shoulda, woulda, coulda! That's so old fashioned.

peddling-fiction's picture

Here, pee on my avatar as well.

lolmao500's picture

India should provoke China into a war into the contested areas, then Trump should bomb NKorea while China is busy with India... Win/win

earleflorida's picture

and china turns off india's 'water works fauset' and crop failure and famine in the bread basket...

india is geographically challenged

Koba the Dread's picture

India is also spiritually challenged, intellectually challenged, politically challenged, economically challenged and morally challenged. I spent a fair amount of time in India over a fifty year period. I'm like a fish in water there, but I will never choose to go there again.

Déjà view's picture

India ARISES...more challenges for China...

India rolls out its biggest tax reform in 70 years. Here’s what it means

•Experts agree that India's historic GST rollout will have long-term benefits.
•HSBC estimates in the long run, the new tax reforms could add about 40 basis-points to India's economic growth.
•But there are short-term implementation challenges, including ensuring small-and-medium businesses are tax-compliant, the experts said.


August's picture

"India is a terrible place."

 - my friend Mr. Gupta, who visited his relatives back home every year, but never left his four-star hotel.

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

That's a visit to remember the .. four stars hotel.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

I'll bet many people said the same place about the USA in the mid and late 1800s...

BrownCoat's picture

@ lolmao500,

War is never a win (unless you are a MIC). The war stimulus is just growth pulled forward. The good times eventually end and recession, stagnation sets in. (And let's not forget the body bags and human wreckage.)

BarnacleBill's picture

Arrest Hillary and lolmao - are you two mad? Why so keen to set off a nuclear war? Once that happens, do you really think the genie will go back into the bottle?

BrownCoat's picture

NK would like nothing better than to be attacked. As it is now, their propaganda has to make stuff up.

War with NK is a bad move for a superpower (even Bush Junior didn't do it AND that jerk was dumber than your average bear.)

back to basics's picture

Bullshit article. Boots on the ground by the US, or in response China, would mean a horrendous number of dead. North Korea is not some 3rd world pushover defended by desert monkeys. This is all posturing because both the US and China know that. 

TheEndIsNear's picture

Maybe Trump could get Putin to build a second Tsar Bomba and purchase it for use on North Korea. Take out the whole damn place in one fell swoop.

BrownCoat's picture

Maybe you need a geography lesson. (see the mountains?)  Next time think before you type.

edotabin's picture

About a week ago, I had referred to the fact that this is one of the reasons NK exists. There is a very good chance China doesn't want SK at their border, so they kept the Kims on life support. Now KIMMY is starting to become a liability.

I hope the US and China come to an agreement. China can keep a 10-20 mile buffer zone and SK moves up. The UN gets off their collective asses and does something good (for a change) for the NK people.

The main thing is to get rid of that pathetic, shitbag regime that has wedged itself into a bad situation and made it 100x worse. They've tortured 24 million souls for decades.

not dead yet's picture

Actually it's the US that wants NK to exist. That's why the US throws a wrench in the works every time the two Korea's look to patch things up. The current head of the South has told the US to back off and is reviving talks with the North. Many South Koreans want the US out of their country. According to military people the US doesn't want the Korea's to unite and be a properous state with nukes. Kiss the influence of the US in that part of the world goodbye, and troops in any part of Korea, if it happens.

edotabin's picture

Like the south couldn't make nukes if they wanted. They don't need kim jong ding dong.

Kim overstepped his bounds. The US moved in THAAD and all the radars etc and this is of concern to China and Russia. With the threats ding dong has made, it creates some justification. He is no longer useful to Russia/China. On the contrary, he is a liability now especially since Trump doesn't take very kindly to threats. Unless, of course, the idea is that ding dong is a CIA plant and the US is using him to build up its presence in SK.

As for continued influence, Japan is not very far.

US, China, Russia need to get rid of ding dong and either give them a buffer or like the Chinese general said, no US presence north of the 38th parallel.....or both.

The Kim von Ding Dongs had a good run. Their time is over. NK should be free.

Koba the Dread's picture

"We had to destroy South Korea in order to save it."

rp2016's picture

China is sending SoS! May be ..may be not. There is no need for a war!


Golden Showers's picture

If you can't kill it, make it ugly.

TheEndIsNear's picture

Relative to the the frequency of a caesium oscillator.

OverTheHedge's picture

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so"

Animal Mother's picture

I believe that all this anti-US hostility from these chinks is probably because they think we are racist. Imagine the nerve of the little yellow fucks to think something like that. I blame the prank call made a few years ago when a Chinese commerical aircraft crashed and a prank call to the local live TV news told them that the crew members were named: Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ting Ow. No wonder they want war. And as soon as I stop laughing at those fucking names I'll war you back. 

chosen's picture

The chinks brought us bubonic plague.   It came over in the ships from China in the 1800s.  Their first attempt at biological warfare.

Koba the Dread's picture

Moron! There was no bubonic plague epidemic in the 1800s. Check 1340-1400 a.d. for bubonic plague.

Aussiekiwi's picture

You are correct, but please don't insult 'chosen', pobably the product of a liberal University education, Berkeley maybe.

chosen's picture

You are also wrong, but I appreciate your effort to restrain the trolls.

chosen's picture

You are wrong.  Bubonic plague is currently endemic in the southwestern United States.  Bubonic plague epidemics occurred throughout Europe from the 1340s to around 1740.   You fucking stupid jackass.

HalinCA's picture

I remember that ... the news readers fell for such an obvious joke perpetrated on them by someone in the copy room.

PC run rampant on the SF Bay TV stations precluded any one with a brain to challenge the names, somthey read them as printed.


Proves beyond doubt the stupidity of the media.

sinbad2's picture

The Chinese are serious about the US removing THAAD batteries from South Korea.

If the US doesn't remove them, China will.

Gen. Ripper's picture

Bwahaha! The chinks are a corrupt paper tiger, would be rolled over like saddam's fearsome republican guard.