While the US openly mulls military action against North Korea and its possibly nuclear consequences, another threat looms largely behind: China.

“Broadly speaking, if you asked me a year ago if war between major powers was thinkable, I’d say no. Now I’d say yes,” Ian Bremmer, the head of Eurasia Group told Business Insider.

“Not imminent, not likely, but it could happen.”

China has a vested strategic interest in maintaining a North Korean state that’s unfriendly to the West to act as a buffer state between the powerful, democratic state of South Korea and China’s authoritarian mainland.

China may not support North Korea’s brutal human rights abuses or their nuclear threats, but it is highly unlikely that the country would stand idly by if the US tried to remove Kim Jong-un, according to Bremmer. A unified, Western-leaning Korea would be a threat to China’s efforts to project power throughout the region.


Read the whole story from Business Insider.

Featured image courtesy of AP