KCNA | Reuters
Artillery pieces are seen being fired during a military drill at an unknown location, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 25, 2016.
News reports suggest many U.S. hedge fund managers have simply dismissed the pledge of peace and order on the Korean Peninsula issued by the Chinese Defense Ministry last Thursday.
Trading and investment experts continue to worry about the Korean military standoff, and they have also raised a caution flag on asset values in 40 percent of the world economy — countries that would be directly affected by a looming conflagration.
In an environment of confusion and bellicose rhetoric, it is perhaps normal that people known for their daring market bets should be erring on the side of prudence. What else is there to do when the White House says that the time for talk with North Korea is over, while the Pentagon urges diplomatic efforts, and a British military analyst, writing for a major Western newswire, doubts whether the U.S. would be able to intercept Pyongyang’s missiles.
But this is more important: Beijing’s categorical statement that it would not tolerate disorder and military hostilities in its neighborhood is at odds with its long-standing assurances that its influence with North Korea is limited.
Indeed, the logic of last week’s statement implies quite the opposite: China, it now seems, claims an absolute control over North Korea and asserts its ability to control all other would-be belligerents — the U.S., Japan and South Korea.
If that’s what the hedge funds see, their apparent indifference to Beijing’s bravado is well taken.