“Beijing’s security interests will be served if a potential agreement weakens the U.S. alliance with South Korea, reduces the U.S. military presence in Asia and limits the threat of refugee flows on Chinese borders, according to The Atlantic Council.”
Next month’s milestone summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump has major implications for China, which has geopolitical and security interests at stake on the Korean Peninsula.
“Lurking in the background as a potential spoiler or helper in this drama is Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who sees both opportunity and peril,” Fred Kempe, president and CEO of foreign policy think tank Atlantic Council, wrote in a recent note.
The world’s second-largest economy has long supported a nuclear-free region but strategists say its greatest priority is preventing North Korean regime collapse — if the rogue state falls under the weight of sanctions, that could send a flood of citizens to China.
For Beijing, “the right sort of peace deal could weaken the U.S. alliance with South Korea, reduce the threat of conflict and refugee flows on Chinese borders, and ultimately lead to the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea,” said Kempe.
Ending the U.S. military presence in South Korea — a major prerequisite for Kim’s administration to relinquish nuclear weapons — is expected to boost China’s goal of minimizing America’s influence in Asia.