The one piece of this picture that I really don’t understand is, why China is so lukewarm about taking action? I was surprised when earlier this summer they finally agreed to stronger sanctions on North Korean exports, as until then I hadn’t heard of them doing much to alleviate the situation. I just don’t understand what they have to gain by protecting (directly or indirectly) the regime, aside from being able to push the buttons of Japan or the USA.
I do agree, though, that China is the key player here, and I see that sentiment echoed in most of the articles I read. They seem to support the North Korean regime’s proposal of NK dropping their nuclear program if the US and SK stop the military drills and remove the THAADs from the region. To me, the suggestion is asinine — NK has proven a hundredfold that they aren’t to be trusted or reigned in by the rules of outside nations, so I also don’t understand how removing regional defense systems and training can be seen as anything but unreasonable.