Are Norks defying China?

NY Times:

North Korea’s unending appetite for confrontation has left many wondering what its bottom line is, none more so than its supposed patron and big brother, China.

Despite its impoverishment and heavy dependence on Chinese aid and support, North Korea seems to regularly defy every Chinese diplomatic initiative, from Beijing’s work to keep the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free to its efforts to prevent a violent confrontation.

China’s influence is rising steadily around the world. But the problem of how to manage North Korea, its Communist neighbor and onetime ally, appears to befuddle China’s leaders, who stumble from indulging the North to sending occasional signals of pique, all without persuading the country to adopt a path toward greater openness or stability.

“At the moment China has limited influence,” Cai Jian, a professor of Korean studies at Fudan University, said in a telephone interview. “On one hand it’s unhappy with North Korean actions and its provocative behavior, but on the other hand it still has to support North Korea.”

The support continues because China fears that the vacuum created by a sudden collapse there would open the door to rule by South Korea, “and that will put an American military alliance on the doorstep of China.”

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I am sure the Chicoms could get an agreement from Obama not to put US troops north of where they already are. In fact without the Nork nuts in charge the US might withdraw its forces from Korea. Why didn't China think of that?

I suspect it is because they rather enjoy the cheap provocation for which they can avoid responsibility. China is also perfectly capable of keeping the starving hordes of Norks from overrunning the countryside.

The best way to get China interested in doing something about the North Koreans is to let them know that Japan and South Korea would now be free to develop nuclear weapons.

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