Xi Jinping
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Of all the parties involved in the Korean missile crisis, the most difficult to read is China.
China's talks about the 
need for a peaceful resolution
do little to reveal what China's real interests and objectives are. And what they are is multiple and conflicting.
At one level, China is concerned with the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula. China doesn't want Pyongyang to have nuclear weapons, and it doesn't want the peninsula to unify. (George Friedman discussed the geopolitical reality of China and North Korea in its exclusive e-book, 
The World Explained in Maps
, which you can 
download here
But at the same time, what happens on the Korean Peninsula also affects China's relationship with the US. And despite the deep economic ties between the two countries, from Beijing's perspective, that is a relationship defined ultimately by fear and mistrust.
Cycles of History
Soon after the US presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump did something that no US president had done for more than 37 years: He had direct contact with the president of Taiwan.
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