According to South Korean and Japanese media, North Korea fired four missiles Monday morning. The missiles traveled over 1,000 kilometers, three of them landing in the waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo has lodged a protest with Pyongyang.
Several Chinese scholars interviewed by the Global Times all agreed that the launch is a response to the ongoing annual US-South Korea joint military exercises, code-named Foal Eagle, which kicked off last week. This year's drills are reportedly the largest in scale. A combined 317,000 military personnel participated in last year's exercises and the figure for this year is higher.
For many years, North Korea has used missile launches to protest against US-South Korean military drills. By firing four missiles at once this time, the military confrontation between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington escalates a notch.
The possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula is growing. China should prepare itself for all eventualities. It should persuade Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang to cease their provocations and make concerted efforts to create the conditions for the North's denuclearization and permanent peace on the Peninsula.
But if war does break out, China should have the ability to safeguard its national security.
If the parties dismiss China's advice and refuse to make efforts to reduce tensions, they can only blame themselves for the huge losses they will suffer in the end.
Relying on the US for security, South Korea has continuously enlarged the scale of joint military exercises with the US.
It also pushed ahead with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system regardless of China's objections. China has showed the utmost patience with it.
North Korea is not powerful enough to confront the US and South Korea, but it harbors the illusion they will yield to its immature nuclear technology. Pyongyang blindly believes nuclear weapons are the greatest guarantee of its national security regardless that the reality is the opposite.
If Pyongyang doesn't give up nuclear weapons, it will face long-lasting isolation and pressure. It's impossible for the Chinese government to break away from the UN Security Council resolution. China will maintain its friendly relationship with Pyongyang, but the latter must take upon itself the consequences of its nuclear ambitions. Noticeably, the Chinese public is angry that Pyongyang's nuclear program has provided an excuse for Seoul to deploy THAAD.
But if North Korea falls, the South will also be endangered. China won't allow South Korea to topple the North's regime through war and then unify the Peninsula.
Finally, we want to give our advice to the US: the North Korean nuclear problem is hard to resolve.
There isn't a simple solution to solve the issue one for all. Finding a realistic solution based on all parties' concerns is the right way.