S*** just got real between China and North Korea:
North Korean and Chinese officials are still haggling over what to do in response to China’s unprecedented vote to back UN condemnation of North Korean nuclear weapons development and what appears to be preparations for a third nuclear weapons test. China has made it clear, and very public, that such a test would result in less aid from China. That’s serious for North Korea, which is undergoing a famine and severe energy shortage. China is North Korea’s major aid donor and trading partner. Most North Korean exports are illegal items (weapons, drugs, counterfeit currency) that can only be moved to foreign customers because of Chinese cooperation. China wants North Korea to fix its economy with reforms (more free market activity, which saved China three decades ago). But the North Koreans only pay lip service to the economic reforms and instead move ahead in developing nuclear weapons and believing their own propaganda about what a swell country they are. The Chinese UN vote may also indicate that the Chinese will finally execute an option they have been working on for over a decade; backing a coup in North Korea by pro-Chinese officials. North Koreans are aware of these rumors and in the last year many senior officials were forcibly retired (or executed). While presented as an effort to get some younger leaders into action, it also appeared to be a purge of people with questionable loyalties (real or imagined.)
I’ve written many times going back many years that things won’t end well for North Korea. The country may live on for decades more before reunification, but the Kimocracy is doomed.