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In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses?

For years, China has rebuffed U.S. attempts to raise the topic at so-called Track 2 dialogue sessions between academics in each country’s foreign policy establishment, according to Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, who has led the U.S. side in such talks. Attendees included people from Chinese government-affiliated research institutions and military officers, she said.

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