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The view that China would not “abandon” North Korea, despite repeated provocations by North Korea, has been strengthened in the context of the US pivot to Asia, which is generally regarded by Chinese strategists as Washington’s ploy to contain China. As the rivalry and competition between Washington and Beijing deepen. North Korea’s strategic value to China increases. However, history shows that Beijing regarded Pyongyang as “expendable” even during the Korean War. Based on Sino-North Korean historical relations, in this article we argue that China’s policy toward North Korea is not fixed but fluid, and that Washington and Seoul could inspire changes within China’s policy toward North Korea.