WASHINGTON, D.C. (AMP) — North Korea’s unprovoked attack on South Korea yesterday is raising fears on both sides of the Pacific that an escalation will draw the United States and China into war.
“The United States publicly reiterated that it will defend South Korea in any war with North Korea, and China is North Korea,s chief and only champion in the world,” observes a top East Asia analyst with the Pentagon.
Indeed, the Pentagon’s top-secret war plan for China states that “if the proxies go to war, it’s hard to imagine how the U.S. and China won’t be facing off, and then we enter truly dangerous territory.”
Ironically, that report presumes that the island of Taiwan–not South Korea–would be the U.S. “proxy” at the heart of a direct military exchange with China.
“That’s the problem with war game scenarios,” said the analyst. “The real spark of war, when it strikes, always takes you surprise, like the North Koreans here. We are gaming China’s potential responses to this crisis–they have every reason to want to contain the North Koreans here–but the reality is that this is no game now.”
Further complicating matters, the United States and China have already had their own share of rising tensions in recent months, from currency disputes to carbon emissions to a series of sophisticated cyber attacks on U.S. Department of Defense computer systems from deep within China.
The fear, according to Pentagon officials, is that China may attempt a “soft attack” on U.S. satellites and surveillance systems to disrupt U.S. support for South Korea’s military. That could put the lives of 30,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea at risk.
“If U.S. soldiers die in North Korea, there is no way the United States will fail to directly hit North Korea, and if that happens the Chinese will retaliate, most likely by moving on Tawain, and then who knows where it all ends?”
But the Pentagon is gaming it all just the same.