North Korea: How Much More Will China Take and How Should the U.S. Respond?

North Korea: How Much More Will China Take and How Should the U.S. Respond?

A ChinaFile Conversation

China is increasingly frustrated with North Korea and may even see more clearly that its actions only serve to increase allied unity, stimulate Japanese militarism and accelerate missile defense. For all these reasons the U.S. should lean on Beijing to—at last—not only help strengthen sanctions and implement them but also to reduce/cut off aid and fuel to North Korea. This should be one of our highest priorities with China. We should encourage Seoul and Tokyo to join us in collective demarches to Beijing.

We should also continue to urge the Chinese to discuss contingencies and our respective red lines in case of, for example, regime collapse or unification. This could provide some easing of Chinese concerns about regime change, which is the policy we should pursue.

I am almost 100 percent certain, however, that Beijing will not cooperate beyond cosmetics. The Chinese will continue, as they have for many years, to be a core part of the problem, not the solution.

Winston Lord was U.S. Ambassador to China from 1985 to 1989. He was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 1993. Before assuming his duties, Ambassador Lord...
Tai Ming Cheung is the director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and the leader of IGCC’s Minerva project "The Evolving Relationship Between Technology and...
Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s...
John Delury is an Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies and Underwood International College in Seoul, South Korea. Delury is...





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