China did something it's never done before to warn the US about fighting North Korea
- China responded to a US and South Korean military drill with a drill near the Koreas that it had never done before.
- As the US creeps closer to war with North Korea, China is asserting its place in the conflict as Pyongyang's treaty ally.
- It's in China's national interests to prevent a war with North Korea, and in the original Korean War, they fought on Pyongyang's side.
As the US and South Korea work together on the Korean Peninsula's largest-ever military air power drill, China did something it has never done before that suggests it's considering backing up North Korea in the event of war.
On the same day the US and South Korea started training for air raids on North Korea, China's air force staged drills along "routes and areas it has never flown before" with surveillance aircraft over the Yellow and East seas near the Korean peninsula, according to the South China Morning Post.
While China needs to exercise its constantly expanding and modernizing military, the drill had another purpose.
"The timing of this high-profile announcement by the PLA is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further," Beijing-based military expert Li Jie told the Post.
With 24 US stealth aircraft in South Korea for the Vigilant Ace drills, China's use of stealth aircraft and staging of a military drill sends a clear message.
The US and South Korea have up to 260 aircraft training to take out important North Korean targets in a realistic way that simulates how an actual air war would crush Kim Jong Un's regime.
While China agrees with the US about the dangerous nature of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons progress, it fundamentally disagrees on the preservation of the North Korean state.
China, North Korea's main trading partner, could effectively defund Pyongyang and bring about regime collapse, as the US has asked it to. But China's national interest lies in keeping North Korea as a buffer state to prevent the US from staging troops on its borders.
In the Korean War of the 1950s Chinese-backed North Koreans fought US-backed South Koreans in a brutal war that remains technically ongoing.
China's latest military drill near the Koreas may serve as a reminder to the US that the two military powers could find themselves on opposite ends of a war once again if North Korea is attacked.