On December 31, 2016, as President Xi Jinping was meeting with President Obama at a nuclear security summit in Washington, DC, the China State media Huanqiu published a commentary by Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang, former Deputy Commander of the Nanjing Military Command, on the North Korean nuclear issue.
According to Wang, the U.S., Seoul, and North Korea are implementing a "brinkmanship" policy, which has substantially increased the possibility of military confrontation. Once such a confrontation took place, it would probably not be an "accidental discharge" nor could any party control the situation.
Wang believed that the U.S. and South Korea have long been planning a military strike against North Korea and that the motivation for such a strike may now be ripe.
Wang expressed that the military strike against North Korea would be likely to consist of four stages: first, a small scale attack on North Korea’s satellite launch site and the destruction of their nuclear technology; second, a small and medium scale attack on North Korean nuclear facilities and warehouses at the risk of nuclear contamination; third, a large scale attack on hundreds of military targets already identified, which would paralyze North Korea’s ability to initiate any of its own attacks and to fight back; fourth, a large scale attack to overthrow the North Korean regime by force.
[Editor’s Note: Analysts noted the timing of Wang’s commentary was during Xi’s visit to the U.S. on nuclear issues. Some also observed that the North Korean regime has been under the wing of former President Jiang Zemin’s faction. According to sources in the Chinese nuclear industry, North Korea’s nuclear scientists and technicians were trained in China, which also provided North Korea the most cutting-edge nuclear technology.]
Sources: Huanqiu, March 31, 2016