24 October 2017

Tigers in the Haze: Chinese Troops on the Border with North Korea in the “April Crisis”

By: Adam Cathcart

While China is frequently assumed to have a number of “levers” it could use to control North Korea, in fact, its policies across the board—from security to economics—are much more limited. An examination of actions in March and April 2017, when China was confronted with the destabilizing prospect of unilateral U.S. military action against North Korea, and apparently responded by taking more vigorous steps with Pyongyang, provides some useful insight. [1] China allegedly put bilateral economic projects on hold, threatened North Korea in the press with an oil embargo, and may have further captured Kim Jong-un’s attention by mobilizing troops along its border with DPRK (Global Times, April 12). North Korea complained but backed down.

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