Regime change has been the catchphrase of the week since China dramatically suspended coal imports from North Korea. Totalling more than a third of the country’s exports, many have suggested China is ready to bring Kim Jong-Un and his regime to heel and and institute either dramatic changes or outright revolution to the country commonly known as the hermit kingdom. China is reportedly conscious of the country is steadily improving its ability to deliver a nuclear payload to the US, and angered by the assassinated of Kim Jong-Nam, Kim’s half-brother who has enjoyed Chinese protection for years in Macau. However, the idea that the challenges of nuclear weaponry and a Donald Trump presidency would push China to walk away from its long-time ally are unfounded and misguided. Anyone who is currently dreaming of a unified Korea is merely indulging in an idea that is fanciful as the communist ideology the rouge state is loosely based off. Firstly, China is using this export ban merely to reinstate leverage over its neighbour, and secondly, China has 2 incredibly good reasons why it will never indulge in wholesale regime change. The idea that this new coal ban is China’s first step to institute a change in the government in Pyongyang is ludicrous. The country may have exported 22.4 million metric tonnes of coal to China last year, but it pales in comparison to the 255 million it imported. You see, China’s lifeline to North Korea is not buying its goods, but supplying it goods. North Korea imported 450 million us dollars worth of fuel and commodities fuel last year alone, many of which are vital to keeping its regime in power. Without this support, the country would descend into chaos, with no other major trading partner, military ally, or external source of support could fill the vacuum. Imports is what allows Kim Jong Un to rule over the millions of people suffering from wide-spread famine. China’s implementation of the coal ban is simply a retaliation for the assignation of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia, Kim’s half-brother and rumoured to be China’s long-standing preference to rule the hermit kingdom. By reinstating this leverage, China can then extract the concession it requires from Pyongyang. But focusing on the fact that China would pull other levers if it truly sought to bring about a revolution to North Korea overlooks the fact it has two very good reasons not to destabilise their northern neighbour. You see, if North Korea can be a headache for China occasionally, then wholesale revolution would be like solving one’s headache by shooting one’s in the head. Regime change essentially guarantees a unified Korea, which results in millions of refugees flooding across the border, and a US ally becoming a neighbouring state. As seen with the political upheaval across Europe, a refugee crisis consisting of millions of people is an enormous political and economic strain of destination countries. Chinese authorities would be stretched to their limits dealing with the unfolding humanitarian crisis, and unrest would stir in a communist country that succeeds only due to its ability to quell it. Furthermore, North Korea’s collapse would result in unification, as the fall of the DDR resulted in the unification of Germany. That means China would have to share a border with a US ally. Consequently, US troops and US military technology would be adjacent to the Chinese border. Authorities in Beijing would see this as a threat, amplified by the humiliating fact that it was enabled due to the downfall of a long time ally which China backed. As a result, China not only has no reason to indulge in regime change, but it also is not even pulling the right levers if it wanted to acquire it. Don’t worry folks. North Korea is the best Korea – and it’s not going anywhere! Thanks for listening to Black Swan Politics.