China moves 150,000 troops to border with North Korea
The ripple effect from President Trump's missile attack on Syria has reached the Korean peninsula with China reportedly deploying 150,000 troops to their border with North Korea.
The reason for the troop movement, according to South Korean news sources, is to handle the flood of refugees if the U.S. attacks North Korea.
The U.S. strike on Syria has unsettled America's enemies, who have come to the conclusion that President Trump is no President Obama and will not hesitate to take action to defend what he perceives as American security.
The troops have been dispatched to handle North Korean refugees and 'unforeseen circumstances', such as the prospect of preemptive attacks on North Korea, the news agency said.
Meanwhile, the US Navy has moved the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group from Singapore to North Korea after the country conducted more missile testing.
It is not likely that the troop movement is in response to the decision to send the carrier strike group toward the Korean peninsula, which was just announced yesterday. The troop movements are a contingency in case tens of thousands of North Korean refugees look to escape a military action by the U.S.
Speculation of an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks major anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday – sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.
Wu Dawei, China's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, met with his South Korean counterpart on Monday to discuss the nuclear issue.
The talks come shortly after Trump hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a summit at which he pressed Pyongyang's key ally to do more to curb the North's nuclear ambitions.
'(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,' US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the summit.
He added however that Beijing had indicated a willingness to act on the issue.
'We need to allow them time to take actions,' Tillerson said, adding that Washington had no intention of attempting to remove the regime of Kim Jong-Un.
The meeting between Xi and Trump came on the heels of yet another missile test by the North, which fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.
The US Navy strike group Carl Vinson cancelled a planned trip to Australia this weekend, heading toward the Korean peninsula instead, in a move that will raise tensions in the region.
Twice before this century, China has had to deal with a flood of refugees from North Korea. But that was related to famines that broke out as a result of the North Korean government impoverishing its citizens by devoting a huge percentage of its resources to its nuclear and ICBM programs. Best estimates are that 200-300,000 North Korean refugees are currently in China. Needless to say, the Chinese would like to prevent the arrival of any more.
Since a U.S. invasion of the North is extremely unlikely, the Chinese troop deployment should be seen as a pragmatic response to a potentially catastrophic humanitarian situation. Whether the prospect of more refugees will spur the Chinese to put more pressure on North Korea with regards to their nuclear program remains to be seen.