Wikistrat’s Dr. Benjamin Herscovitch argues that China is unlikely to do much more to rein in North Korea, given its conflicting strategic imperatives.
On the one hand, China worries that North Korea’s behavior will drive Japan and South Korea to call for greater U.S. military presence in North Asia — and that the two will bolster their own defenses as well.
On the other, China’s worst-case scenario is not a nuclearized Korean Peninsula but rather the collapse or removal of the North Korean regime. In such an event, China would have on its border a politically and socially unstable and highly militarized nation of roughly 25 million.
Hence China’s indecisive policy.
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Dr. Benjamin Herscovitch
Wikistrat Senior Analyst
Research Manager at China Policy