August 20, 2018 09:56
The Pentagon believes China could intervene militarily in North Korea in a war on the Korean Peninsula, but it is unclear whether it would really come to the aid of the regime, Voice of America reported on Saturday.
VOA quoted the Pentagon's annual report on Chinese military developments submitted to Congress last Thursday.
In a chapter titled "China's Approach to North Korea," the report says, "Should a crisis or conflict occur on the Peninsula, China's leaders could order the [People's Liberation Army] to engage in a range of operations. These could range from securing the China-North Korea border to prevent the flow of refugees to a military intervention into North Korea."
"China could also cite the Sino-North Korea Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty -- signed in July 1961 -- as a justification to cross the border into North Korea," the report adds. "However, China's willingness to intervene into North Korea to defend [leader] Kim Jong-un is unclear."
"The Northern Theater contains three group armies of approximately 170,000 soldiers, a naval fleet, two air force bases, one specialized air division, two naval aviation divisions, and People's Armed Police (PAP) units that conduct border defense operations," the report points out.
China has recently stepped up night exercises and crossing drills across Bohai Bay in preparation for an emergency, it adds.
Meanwhile, the Sankei Shimbun on Sunday quoted a foreign intelligence source on a military drill the Chinese Army conducted in the border region back in April.
"It's possible that the drill was carried out on the assumption of an air raid on Kim Jong-un's villas, North Korea's nuclear facilities and military commands," the Japanese daily wrote. "There are traces showing that the Chinese PLA carefully simulated a situation in which the North is attacked."
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