There is no way the DPRK would have started that kind of confrontation with the USA without the blessing of the Chinese. What happened in this case is that the Chinese told the North Koreans to "rock the boat" in Korea as a not so subtle hint to the USA: if you insist on triggering a crisis in Syria, we will trigger one in Korea. According to Shevchenko, the USA immediately got the message and the Americans backed down.
Interesting theory. But Shevchenko did not say what his sources were, neither did he offer any corroboration. Finally, Shevchenko is a world-class specialist of the Caucasus, but not of China or Korean affairs.
Still, I thought I would mention this theory just as an interesting possibility.