On Thursday, China sent a clear warning to all the key players on the Korean Peninsula that it will never allow war or chaos on its doorstep. The announcement comes amid the show of force by the US and South Korea in response to North Korean missile launches. Beijing warned that the Peninsula is not a computer game.
Beijing will never allow war or chaos on its doorstep, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang's words at a monthly news briefing.
The statement comes amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and after the US and South Korea demonstrated a show of force in the region.
The US and South Korea held a joint flight operation in the region, involving four US warplanes, two nuclear-capable B-1B strategic bombers from Guam and two Japanese-based Marine Corps F-35B jets, as well as South Korean F-15K fighter jets, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Thursday, citing South Korean defense officials.
The announcement by Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was made during her regular briefing on Thursday when asked about the possibility of new sanctions against North Korea, pushed by Japan and the US.
It was regrettable that some countries only applied sanctions and overlooked the United Nations Security Council resolution's requirements for dialogue, she added.
Confirming reports that first floated several months ago, the Telegraph reports that South Korea is preparing to send special forces units into Pyongyang to conduct a "clinical strike" - searching for, and taking out Kim Jong-un and his closest advisers, in the event that North Korea should start a conventional war. The plan is among the revisions being made to South Korea's latest strategy for dealing with an attack from the North.
Senior officials briefed South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, about revisions to the present defence of the nation on Monday, one day before North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan. Moon told the ministry to implement reforms to the military to meet the challenges that are increasingly being posed by North Korea. He added that the military should be ready to "quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region", the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported. The prime minister also requested that the military "increase its mobility as well as its ability to carry out airborne and sea landings" and upgrade air defences.
In retaliation, under the existing US-South Korean plan for the defence of the South, known as OPLAN 5015, the two nations would aim to bring their overwhelming air and naval superiority to bear from bases in South Korea and Japan, as well as aircraft carriers in the western Pacific, although it would take weeks before large-scale reinforcements, including heavy tanks and other equipment, could be landed.
The new South Korean plan will identify more than 1,000 primary targets in North Korea to be eliminated by missiles and laser-guided munitions - including nuclear weapons and missile launch facilities - at the same time as the conventional attack is halted.
Additionally, the military has been tasked with training special forces units that could be infiltrated into Pyongyang in order to target key members of the regime, including Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in order to bring about a more rapid conclusion to the fighting. While on paper such a "decapitation" move appears enticing, in reality the retaliation by the crippled NKorean regime against its southern neighbor, especially once it has lost its leader, would likely result in countless casualties and serve as the start of a gruesome regional, if not world, war.
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