Well isn't this a whole lot of interesting?
North Korea has reportedly moved tanks as well as armored vehicles to its border with China.
The vehicles are reportedly being sent to an army corps near the border, The Chosun Ilbo, one of South Korea's largest newspapers, reports. North Korea's 12th Corps is in charge of "responding to movements of Chinese troops in an emergency."
The report is at best unconfirmed. But whether true, false, or partially true, the report does reflect a growing split over the nuclear issue between North Korea and China.
China may have finally decided that a nuclear North Korea will just prompt other countries in the region to go nuclear--countries that China would prefer didn't have nuclear weapons. Duh.
And North Korea may have realized that their usefulness as a rabid Chinese attack dog was only useful while North Korea was approaching nuclear capability.
Given that China has increased their ability to intervene in North Korea, this is something the North Koreans should do. The bulk of North Korea's ground forces are deployed in the south aimed at South Korea.
UPDATE: So could worries about North Korea cement South Korean-Chinese ties?
At some level, as China rises in power, I worry that nations close to China will fall into orbit out of fear. South Korea is one nation that I worry could do this.
I don't worry about it now. But if we fail to hold our ground and support allies in the western Pacific, it does not seem far fetched in the long run.
This article says that it is not a worry:
In fact, for both China and South Korea, a certain level of tacit coordination on specific issues at both strategic and tactical levels would be much more feasible and (more importantly) more controllable than starting a new alliance. There are several factors that hinder the construction of a China-ROK alliance.
Well, it really just says that a formal alliance is unlikely. That's not comforting.
I hope that far less than a formal alliance is unlikely. In the past, there wasn't an outside power to support these peripheral nations in resisting falling into Peking's orbit. We (and Japan) provide that potential balancing power. That should make a major difference, I hope.
And China's power relative to America could peak and then fall back in time, I think.
Yet there is that history ...
UPDATE: Strategypage writes that North Korea did move a tank brigade north:
Rumors that North Korea suspects China of supporting a coup against current ruler Kim Jong Un received a boost as North Korea transferred one of most combat-ready tank brigades from the South Korean border to the Chinese border. This is very unusual, but it’s no secret that China has been sending more troops to the North Korean border in the last year and is very unhappy (and openly critical) over how the North Korean leadership refuses to accept Chinese economic (more free market) and diplomatic (shut down the nuclear weapons program) advice.