Speculation that China is trying to get the US and North Korea to negotiate instead of having these annual escalations of tensions proved true today, with Chinese officials proposing a deal in which the US, North Korea, and South Korea would halt their respective provocative actions.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed that North Korea would suspend work on both its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, in return for the US and South Korea agreeing to halt their annual wargames, which grow every year, and simulate a joint invasion of North Korea.
Wang said the suspension-for-suspension deal would be both a chance to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula, and also be an excellent first step toward bringing the two sides to the table to negotiate on more issues going forward.
Neither side has yet addressed the proposal, but North Korea might be the more open to the idea, since they’ve long offered deals to end these programs for a peace deal. The US, by contrast, has long argued that making any deals would “reward” North Korea for its behavior.