Of Course China Has a Plan for North Korea Collapse

TIME

It sounded like big news. On Saturday, Japan’s Kyodo News published a story about China’s plans should North Korea collapse. The piece was based on documents reportedly leaked to them by an unnamed source in the People’s Liberation Army and sketch a scenario in which “foreign forces” bring down the regime, sending North Koreans streaming north.

The Kyodo report sparked a frenzy of headlines in the English-language press. We are hungry for any information about North Korea and this story offered the tantalizing prospect of something both clandestine and Chinese. “China’s secret plans for North Korea’s collapse, revealed,” read the Vox headline. The U.K.’s Telegraph took it a step further, claiming that Beijing’s “lack of faith” in the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un had been “exposed.”

Sounds rather exciting, but some skepticism is in order. Let’s start with sourcing. Kyodo is a respected news agency and the documents may…

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