In the North Korean nuclear crisis, there is a major difference between having leverage and having the ability to use it. China has the former, but not the latter. North Korea has both. If China is to stay above the deepening diplomatic quagmire, it will have to abandon its ad hoc approach to dealing with the crisis and adopt a Chinese-sponsored multilateral road map for negotiating North Korea's nuclear disarmament. The question remains whether Beijing will squander its dwindling diplomatic capital on further ad hoc efforts to bring North Korea back to an agenda-deficient table or start a new phase of road map-focused meetings.

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