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Fewer, however, have recognized that the least bad military option – the one implied by U.S. President Donald Trump's insistence that China take responsibility for its dangerous neighbor – is a Chinese invasion, or regime change forced through China's threat to launch one.This outcome, which would sharply shift East Asia's strategic balance in China's favor, is not as unlikely as most people think. While Japan and South Korea have remained close allies of the United States during the six decades since then, hosting U.S. bases and sheltering under U.S. nuclear protection, China and North Korea have drifted ever further apart.If, as is commonly assumed, North Korea wants some sort of credible security guarantee in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program, the only country capable of providing it is China.What China needs, above all, is legitimacy, and intervention in North Korea would provide it.While the Kim regime's nuclear restraint could hardly be taken for granted, China would be a less likely target than the U.S. for North Korean missiles.
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