My thoughts regarding the latest incidence in the Korean peninsula:
North Korea is a rather isolated and impoverished nation. It is a quintessential totalitarian state with entrenched state ideology that is based on the combination of cult personality, communism and extreme nationalism. China has fought a massive war on behalf of the North Koreans about 60 years ago. One would have expected the North Korean to be really grateful and become China’s trusted ally. However, this was not the case, as the North Koreans were shrewly playing the Chinese against the Soviets. The reality is that China has limited leeway in influencing the North Koreans, as can be seen in the North Koreans quest to built atomic bombs. It is absolutely against China’s interest to see nuclear arms race in East Asia.
Meanwhile South Korean is a successful modern country by any standards. However, it is a client state of US. This mean is has to listen and obey its big brother interests, especially on matters concerning security issues. The election of a hardliner as President of the ROK, means that the situation in Korean peninsula will always be tense.
Many Western commentators and politicians have been urging China to hold back the North Koreans from further provocation. This is a half correct response as this in itself is insufficient to restraint the North Korean. They should also urge the South Koreans and the US military refrain from holding military exercises close to the border region to avoid further escalation. After all, it takes two hands to clap.
I believe there is need for cool heads to prevail. A full scale war will have horrific consequences to the world, given that the North Korean is armed to the teeth and is said to be in possession of nuclear bombs. It is really necessary to provoke a snarling pit-bull terrier? Only the Americans can answer that.