With America’s Asian allies unnerved by President Trump’s threat to bring “fire and fury” to North Korea, China sees a chance to capitalize on the fear and confusion and emerge as the sober-minded power in the region, according to analysts who study the Chinese leadership.
Over all, the Chinese leadership — which is accustomed to belligerence from North Korea, its estranged ally — does not believe Mr. Trump would actually carry out his threat to strike North Korea, said Yun Sun, a senior associate at the East Asia program at the Stimson Center.
China has listened to three generations of bluster from the rulers of North Korea, including the current leader, Kim Jong-un, so grandiose and alarmist language is nothing new to them, she said. It is common for North Korea to talk about “turning Seoul into a sea of fire and a pile of ashes,” she noted, referring to the capital of South Korea.
And while North Korea and the United States are hardly equals, China is likely to similarly dismiss Mr. Trump’s “rhetorical war” against the North, Ms. Sun said.
“A striking impression is how little China sees the threats by either North Korea or Trump as credible,” she said, adding, “I don’t think the Chinese are losing sleep today.”
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