Here’s an insightful Reuters article from Beijing, published in the Japan Times. When Kim Jong Un inherited power in North Korea in late 2011, then-Chinese President Hu Jintao was outwardly supportive of the untested young leader, predicting that “traditional friendly cooperation” between the countries would strengthen. But it cautions that two years later, Kim ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek, the country’s chief interlocutor with China and a relatively reform-minded official in the hermetic state.
Source: China, urged to rein in North Korea, actually has little sway, diplomats say | The Japan Times
For the moment, China seems reluctant to intervene too strongly with Korea, especially in relation to oil sanctions. China is North Korea’s main trading partner but there’s speculation that Iran is helping North Korea with it’s nuclear weapon development.
Both the US and North Korea have leaders with large egos. Let’s hope that others can offer ‘carrot’ solutions.