Former senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security Chun Young-woo on Tuesday dismissed fears that China would send troops into North Korea in the event of regime collapse or another emergency there.
Speaking in a seminar at the National Assembly, Chun said there is "no need to conclude that China would sacrifice everything to intervene" by military force in the event of an emergency in the North.
He said China would prefer to coexist with North Korea rather than see it fail, but having to spend money to prop it up while Chinese lives are at risk "is a different matter."
Chun confessed he is amazed at times by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's leadership, which seems "superior" to his father Kim Jong-il's. He therefore predicted the regime will stabilize over the short term.
"As soon as he took power, Kim Jong-un made some audacious moves by conducting a nuclear test and firing a missile, thereby consolidating his grip on power," Chun said. "And he gained absolute control of the military" by placing key loyalists within its top ranks.