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.