We don't have a North Korea problem, we have a China problem

Today, China supplies about 90% of North Korea’s oil, 80% of its consumer goods and 45% of its food. Beijing is Pyongyang’s only formal military ally and its primary backer in the United Nations Security Council and other diplomatic forums. If it weren’t for the Chinese, there would be no North Korean missile program, no North Korean nuclear program and no North Korea.

Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang’s coldly rational leader, knows he could not survive the loss of China’s material and diplomatic support. If Chairman Kim doesn’t appear to listen to his sponsors in Beijing in every instance, it’s largely because they don’t expect obedience each and every time. The Chinese pursue their plan of supporting the North because they know they have influence and can use it at any moment. Kim detonated a nuclear weapon in the last few hours because he knew the Chinese did not object to him doing so. He would not dare cross Beijing on a matter of such critical importance.