Experts Say

Assessing China’s Leadership in the North Korean Crisis

38 North
May 12, 2017
By Carla Freeman

The ongoing nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is testing Beijing’s ability to assume Northeast Asian leadership in the interest of its own security and regional stability. China’s actions over the past several weeks have sought to demonstrate that it is uniquely able to manage crises on the Peninsula, and that it is therefore in everyone’s interest to respect its leadership. However, Beijing is relying on an old crisis diplomacy playbook in which inducements to Pyongyang are the preferred tool, and dialogue and restraint on the part of Washington and its allies remain the principal goal. This is a risky approach in the current strategic environment.
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