Jang's execution leaves China in delicate position

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Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 9:00 PM

BEIJING (AP) — The stunning execution of Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle strips China of its most important link to North Korea's leadership. It also deepens concerns over how the unruly neighbor will proceed on Beijing's key issues of nuclear disarmament and economic reform.

Facing heightened uncertainty, Beijing will likely avoid for now any response that might boost panic or paranoia in Pyongyang, where China is both valued and resented as a key backer of Kim's regime.

According to Jingdong Yuan, an expert on northeast Asian security at the University of Sydney, China is likely dusting off contingency plans for instability or even a regime collapse that could see thousands of refugees swarming across its borders, put the North's nuclear facilities at risk and prompt action by the U.S. and South Korean militaries.

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