With the world on edge after reports that the US and North Korea are on the verge of war, North Korea has threatened “nuclear thunderbolts” at the first sign of a US preemptive strike, while also slamming China for cooperating with the West, according to NK News.
While North Korea is expected to carry out another provocative nuclear test on Saturday — the 105th anniversary of the birth of the regime’s founder, Kim Il Sung — threats and provocations from the Kim regime have become common.
But the cooperation seen lately between the world’s two greatest powers to contain Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions is new.
“Currently, with the cooperation of ‘somebody,’ the US is planning to collapse our system, the action that is such a naive and foolish delusion,” a North Korean think tank said, according to NK News.
That reference to “somebody” appears to be a swipe at China, which recently rejected coal shipments from the Hermit Kingdom, thereby hamstringing the North Korean economy. Additionally, Air China announced on Friday it would suspend its only direct flights to North Korea, according to the South China Morning Post.
While China has signed on to every UN resolution against North Korea since 2006, it remains North Korea’s biggest economic and political backer.
But since US President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week and threatened trade retaliation against China should it fail to cooperate on denuclearizing North Korea, the Chinese have signaled a new willingness to act.
Trump said at a press conference on Wednesday that he told his Chinese counterpart: “The way you’re gonna make a good trade deal is to help us with North Korea. Otherwise, we’re just going to go it alone.”
Meanwhile, despite reports that the US and North Korea are at the brink of all-out war, Gui Rui, the director of Jilin University’s Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told The Associated Press that war wasn’t likely.
Instead, he said that should Pyongyang carry out its test, the regime could expect harsher rebukes from Beijing, which could single-handedly hobble North Korea by restricting its energy trade, thereby accomplishing what decades of UN sanctions have failed to do: destabilize the Kim regime.
“I was very impressed with President Xi,” Trump said on Wednesday of the pair’s meeting. “I think he means well and he wants to help. We’ll see if he does.”
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