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Chinese social media mock Kim Jong Un

Left to right: Ayman Mohyeldin, Richard Engel, Ian Williams.
Left to right: Ayman Mohyeldin, Richard Engel, Ian Williams.

As North Korea continues its bellicose rhetoric, the U.S., as well as China and the rest of Asia are on high alert.

A team of NBC News correspondents have been deployed to cover the potential impact of a missile launch: Richard Engel is in Seoul, South Korea;  Ian Williams is in Beijing, China; and Ayman Mohyeldin is in Tokyo, Japan.

On Friday, they all participated in a Google+ Hangout and discussed the attitudes in their respective countries towards North Korea's rhetoric, the real potential of a missile launch and much more.

Ian Williams weighed in from Beijing saying that the North Korea story has recently generated an “explosion of interest” in the official Chinese state media over the last few days. But what he finds even more significant is the attention the story is getting on social media in China.

Left to right: Ayman Mohyeldin, Richard Engel, Ian Williams.
Left to right: Ayman Mohyeldin, Richard Engel, Ian Williams.

“Social media, the Internet, is the closest barometer we have got of public opinion here in China. And they are absolutely laying into North Korea. The criticism is  – not of the U.S. – but of North Korea. There are caricatures, there are cartoons, they’ve dubbed the leader Kim Jong Un as ‘Fatty the Third’ or ‘Little Fatty,” Williams reported. Adding “It’s serious – they are questioning precisely what he’s going to stick on top of one of his missiles, questioning the military capability. But also criticizing their own leadership for their association with what they see as a Neanderthal regime whose methods are very chilling.”

Click on the link above to replay the informative chat from three of NBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents.