China is our only leverage when it comes to modifying North Korea’s world outlook, policies, actions and (possibly) leadership. But there is no reason for China to truly exert itself, regardless of current statements, because the United States’ prolonged difficulties with an essentially minor player, North Korea, impair our credibility throughout the world and make China’s expansionist plans easier to achieve.
What would make China exert itself to control North Korea would be the real threat of a nuclear-armed South Korea and Japan. The United States should offer these countries meaningful assistance to realize this in the near future.
China does not want the power balance in the region to change, nor does it wish to create the chance (albeit limited) of a nuclear exchange on its doorstep. This ‘offer’ of help by the United States should thus result in China speeding up its efforts to effectively control North Korea’s nuclear weapon and rocketry ambitions.
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