News from the Bush School

Scowcroft Institute Policy Paper Analyzes Chinese Reluctance to Take Action Toward North Korea

November 14, 2017

north Korean military truck with a missle on top
Among the issues facing President Trump on his current Asian trip is how to garner Chinese support to defuse the nuclear standoff with North Korea. A recent policy paper from the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service analyzes why the Chinese are reluctant to apply measures that could halt the North Korean nuclear program.

Dr. Joonbum Bae, most recently a post-doc at the Scowcroft Institute, suggests that China’s fears about potential ramifications of regime collapse in North Korea as one reason the Chinese government could be reluctant to apply sanctions or other measures that could halt the North Korean nuclear program.

Bae writes that if uncertainty over the costs of a North Korean collapse is preventing cooperation between China and the US, then reducing that uncertainty is the most direct, and perhaps the most effective way, to encourage cooperation between the two nations. He believes a mutual understanding between the US and China regarding the Korean peninsula would lower the chances of a miscalculation or misperception in the aftermath of a collapse of the Kim regime and is likely to prevent the most negative effects of such a collapse.

The complete policy paper can be found at: