The standoff between China and India along the Doklam Plateau has shown no signs of de-escalating, as India continues to bolster its strength and increase operational readiness along the border.
New Delhi raised the military alertness level as a "matter of caution," according to anonymous sources speaking to Reuters. The level in question is known as "no war, no peace," and instructs the soldiers to take defensive positions.
For seven weeks now, China and India have faced off over the Doklam plateau, an area disputed by China and India's ally Bhutan. This sequence of events began when China attempted to build a road through remote and rugged Doklam, which they call Donglang and claim is a part of Tibet. Bhutan protested, as they also claim Doklam as part of their territory. Bhutan and India are signatories of a "Friendship Treaty," and so India intervened on their smaller ally's behalf.
China's demands for India to pull back were ignored, and so Beijing deployed their own forces to the disputed border. Hundreds of soldiers from the two most populous nations in the world stand within view of one another. China continues to warn of "counter-measures" to escalate against India if New Delhi doesn't back down.
China will prevent the US and South Korea from carrying out strikes on North Korea and trying to overthrow the leadership there, but will remain neutral if Pyongyang launches missiles at American targets first, the state-run Global Times said.
The warning, delivered through an editorial in the Chinese state-run newspaper on Thursday, comes as both the US and North Korea continue to exchange incendiary remarks, raising the risk of overreaction or miscalculation amid the crisis.
Beijing should make it clear that “if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times wrote.
But if the US and its ally South Korea take on Pyongyang and try to “overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” the paper stressed.
Beijing was unable “to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time,” the Global Times said, adding it primarily pursues peace and stability in the region. All sides involved in the crisis should understand that “when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand,” the government paper explained.
China – North Korea’s long-standing economic partner and ideological ally – reiterated on Friday that all sides involved in the crisis must “speak and act with caution” as well as build up trust rather than “taking turns in shows of strength,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement quoted by Reuters.
Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump added more fuel to the North Korean crisis, saying that his previous threat to unleash “fire and fury which the world has never seen” was perhaps not “tough enough.”
Speaking on Thursday at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said the North Koreans “better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.” The open threat from Washington came after Pyongyang ridiculed Trump’s “fire and fury” remark as a “load of nonsense.”
Pyongyang also announced that a detailed plan to launch missiles against the US Pacific airbase on Guam will be completed soon. In response, the US military signaled it could dispatch strategic B-1 bombers to target North Korea’s missile launch sites, underground facilities and other installations.