China is setting its sights on a key role in North Korea’s future, seeking to be part of any peace treaty, weapons inspections and economic assistance, after emerging as a surprise beneficiary of the summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders.
At the top of China’s agenda are an easing of the economic sanctions that pressured North Korea into negotiations and working on ways to provide security guarantees to give Pyongyang the confidence to dismantle its nuclear program.
While China worried that its interests might get short-shrift in the Trump-Kim summit, the summit’s vaguely worded agreement to pursue denuclearization without providing details on how or when to achieve that goal gives Beijing time to lobby Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang for a direct role in negotiations, Chinese experts said.
China sees North Korea as an important strategic buffer, having fought alongside the North Korean military in the war to beat back the U.S.-led forces and, in recent years, propping up the government as the country’s biggest trade partner, aid donor and foreign investor.
[Wall Street Journal]