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China's influence on North Korea

Not so much:

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.