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North Korea Fallout
Beijing’s High-Maintenance Best Friend

Last week, we wondered if Beijing might be getting cold feet about the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea. Not yet, according to an AP report from early this morning:

China, North Korea’s most important ally, has reaffirmed its commitment to fully implement United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang over its recent nuclear tests and missile launches.

In a phone conversation with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called for new talks with North Korea on nuclear disarmament, China’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Since agreeing to the new sanctions, China has redoubled calls for a two-track solution aiming to resolve the nuclear issue while forging a permanent peace agreement to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea has been flailing its arms lately, promising more nuclear and missile tests, most likely in reaction to a set of large-scale military exercises that South Korea held with the United States. In addition, Seoul has made it increasingly clear that it is open to deploying the sophisticated American THAAD anti-missile systems on its soil—something the Chinese in particular are not keen to see happen, given how those same systems could easily intercept missiles over China.

Nevertheless, the Chinese are keeping things on an even keel—rhetorically anyway—calling for “caution in both word and deed from all sides,” according to Xinhua.

An unruly Kim dynasty stirring up trouble does nothing good for Beijing. For example, before Pyongyang started acting out this year, Beijing and Seoul had been moving closer together. The North’s tests have all but scuppered those efforts, with Seoul strengthening its relationship not just with Washington, but also with Tokyo. Best friends—if they’re as deranged as the regime in Pyongyang—can be a real pain sometimes…

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