Outside analysts see no clear sign of instability in North Korea, under third-generation leader Kim Jong Eun. But the report lays out how China might respond if North Korea is teetering or collapsing. China could send its own troops into North Korea to prevent a mass exodus of refugees, the report says, citing conversations between Chinese officials and Senate staff members. China might also try to use a protracted U.N. process to determine which nation — China or South Korea — has legitimate authority over the North.
“Anybody who is a serious analyst can’t discount this as a plausible scenario,” said Victor Cha, the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, referring to the general argument of the report.