China "will stay neutral" if North Korea launches missiles threatening the United States, according to an op-ed in the influential Chinese newspaper Global Times. Beijing, however, will respond if the US and South Korea strike first and try to overthrow the North Korean regime.
"China opposes both nuclear proliferation and war in the Korean Peninsula. It will not encourage any side to stir up military conflict, and will firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China's interests are concerned... The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region," the publication read.
The publication came after US President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea, threatening Pyongyang with a military solution.
Meanwhile, director of the Center for Northeast Asia at Jilin University, Ba Dianjun, underscored that despite the mutual aid and cooperation friendship treaty between China and North Korea, Beijing will not come to help if Pyongyang attacks first.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently intensified due to North Korea's multiple nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Last month, Pyongyang conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, the latest launch on July 28 was successful, and the missile reached the altitude of 3,725 kilometers and traveled 998 kilometers, for about 47 minutes, before falling into the Sea of Japan.
The US and North Korea have exchanged a series of warmongering statements over the recent week.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team