Game of Thrones
China Edges Closer to North Korea

It appears that Xi Jinping has sent something of a love letter to Kim Jong-un. The New York Times:

Relations between China and North Korea showed some signs on Saturday of thawing after a deep chill, as President Xi Jinping of China sent a warm note to the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and sent one of his most senior officials to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Mr. Kim’s ruling party.

The official, Liu Yunshan, stood next to Mr. Kim during much of an elaborate military parade in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and the two chatted frequently. Mr. Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Politburo, is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the North since Mr. Kim rose to power in late 2011.

The internal debate in China over the value of its alliance with North Korea seems to be ending for now on—for the Norks a happy note. South Korea and Japan won’t be happy, but China isn’t happy with them.

The North Koreans are the world’s least satisfactory ally. They are terrible economic partners, flat out embarrassing on human rights, and their nuclear policies and aggressive rhetoric both alarm and infuriate their neighbors. That China is sticking with Pyongyang despite all this is a strong signal that China feels that it doesn’t have many options.

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