China's influence on North Korea
Chinaâ??s influence is rising steadily around the world. But the problem of how to manage its Communist neighbor and one-time ally appears to befuddle Chinaâ??s leaders, who stumble from indulging the North to sending occasional signals of pique, all without making the country adopt a path toward greater openness or stability.
â??At the moment China has limited influence,â? Cai Jian, a professor of Korean studies at Fudan University, said in a telephone interview. â??On one hand itâ??s unhappy with North Korean actions and its provocative behavior, but on the other hand it still has to support North Korea.â?
It's possible for China to really pressure the North by cutting off aid, but, as Jian notes, fears of a refugee flood and the prospect of an American military presence directly on their border has thus far stayed China's hand.