The North Korean nuclear crisis seems to have no solution, but I have some thoughts on a possible workaround. First, this is my perception of what the relevant parties want: North Korea goals: Survival as an independent state. Preserve Kim family regime from being deposed by outside forces or civil unrest. China goals: Maintain peace for economic reasons. Prevent U.S. troops along its border. Prevent potential North Korean refugee crisis in Chinese territory if war breaks out. U.S. & Allies goals De-nuclearization of North Korea to end threat of attacks or accidental launch Prevent potential proliferation One possible solution that I haven't seen proposed in the mainstream American press is the possibility of China extending its "nuclear umbrella" over North Korea. In this scenario, China pledges to provide deterrence much like the United States has for its non-nuclear European allies in NATO. The North Koreans could then deactivate their nuclear program without fear of becoming the next Iraq. China would preserve its buffer against the US. The US and its allies would not have to fear North Korean nuclear attack or proliferation risks. Would China be willing to pledge defense of North Korea in this way? Does China have the nuclear arsenal to provide a credible deterrent? Would the North Koreans accept this in turn for nuclear disarmament? This last issue could be an unsolvable stumbling block, because the North Korean state policy favors self reliance and autarchy (as part of their Juche political philosophy). More reliance on Beijing is probably not what Kim Jong Un wants. It's not clear that the North would hold up their end of the bargain either, given their history of reneging on prior agreements. It might be difficult if not impossible to make sure that North Korea didn't keep building nuclear arms technology as a backup plan should China decide to end any alliance with the North. Perhaps a new "mini Cold War" is inevitable, with North Korea and the US/Allies keeping the peace via the principle of Mutual Assured Destruction via nuclear missiles pointed at one another. It would be a frightening time, especially given the risk of mistakes (accidental launches or accidental response to false alarms). I'd be especially interested in @Intl Professor 's take.