China "wants things to stay the way they are," he said.
In Kamphausen's view, Chinese leadership would like to see "gradual slow improvement, gradual opening, economic reform, even if at the most basic level. That's what they want to see happening in the North because sudden dramatic change very likely means that the unification would occur on South Korean terms. This is what China cannot live with – a unified Korean peninsula with the US potentially on their doorstep."
These comments came ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's official visit to the United States during which he will meet with President Donald Trump.
Pyongyang's recent activities prompted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to say that "all options are on the table," including the military means of resolving the issue. "The policy of strategic patience has ended," America's top diplomat said in March while on a visit to South Korea. "We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, economic measures."
This is something that China is strongly against. Beijing would not support a potential US military intervention in North Korea "by any stretch of the imagination," Kamphausen said. "The thing China fears the most is that the US will act unilaterally against North Korea."
When the Chinese side makes that sort of presentation, the Trump administration will pull back and say, 'Well what are you doing to calm down North Korea and prevent these types of future tests?' In the end I don't expect that there will be much movement on either party's side during the summit meeting," the analyst said.
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