China’s North Korea Irritation

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A visitor looks at a scene from the Korean war in the Panoramic Painting Gallery at the Museum to Commemorate the War to Resist American Aggression and Aid Korea, in Dandong, China, April 7.

Just how steadfast is China’s support of North Korea?

It is a question that has been asked by outsiders since the Korean Peninsula was divided after World War II. Given the secrecy of the two allies, concrete answers are hard to find.

And wrong conclusions, as when Gen. Douglas McArthur and President Harry Truman underestimated China’s support for its communist ally when U.S.-led U.N. forces stormed north in 1950, can have disastrous consequences.

So it’s worth paying attention when Chinese President Xi Jinping weighs in on the issue, or at least appeared to, at the Boao Forum on the Chinese island of Hainan.

“No one should be allowed to throw the region or even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains,” Xi said Sunday.

The new Chinese leader didn’t single out North Korea, but given the near daily threats and provocations emerging from Pyongyang in recent weeks, it was seen by many observers as a likely target of the criticism.

Full dispatch, here.