It appears that the “Kings of the East” are ruffling one another’s feathers as a new report indicates that, If North Korea launches a rocket into space or conducts a nuclear test in the coming weeks, as observers suspect it may, China is certain to respond angrily, and perhaps with an unprecedented level of economic punishment. The question is whether North Korea can be swayed even by its most important ally. China, which fought on North Korea’s side in the 1950-53 Korean War and remains its biggest trading partner and source of assistance, is thought to have the most leverage of any nation over Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian country.

Yet the degree of that influence has long been questioned, particularly over the almost four years since Kim took power following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, who visited China repeatedly and maintained close ties with Beijing. The younger Kim has yet to make a trip to China or receive any high-ranking Chinese officials in Pyongyang. He snubbed a prestigious military parade in Beijing earlier this month, instead sending an envoy, secretary of the ruling Korean Workers Party Choe Ryong Hae. FULL REPORT