John Pomfret: Why China Won’t Do More With North Korea

On his blog, John Pomfret offers his insight into expectations in the U.S. that China should “do more” about reining in Pyongyang are missing the point:

First, there’s a silly assumption in Washington that our interests (no nukes in North Korea) are the same as China’s. But they’re not. China’s first interest in North Korea is making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. China’s second interest? Making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. From Beijing’s perspective, nukes in North Korea rank somewhere around 10th.

Why is China so intent on “regime maintenance”? If North Korea collapses a few things happen.

First, about 2 million people will rush into China’s northeast as refugees. Not fun – and a huge tax on China’s already poor infrastructure.