As tensions on the Korean Peninsula soar amid the North's military threats, U.S. experts are calling for full-fledged consultations between Washington and Beijing on ways to deal with Pyongyang.
They emphasize that major dialogue between the superpowers, also involving South Korea, is necessary not only to prevent another conflict on the peninsula but also to prepare for possible emergencies in the North.
"If Washington and Beijing fail to coordinate and communicate, we could face the possibility of a U.S.-China confrontation almost unimaginable in its consequences," said Jonathan Pollack, senior fellow at Brookings Institution.
"This will require discussions on military deployments and operations unprecedented in their scope and candor. South Korea must also be part of this conversation," he added.
Pollack was offering a set of Korea policy recommendations for the second Obama administration, called a "Memorandum to the President."
Pyongyang has a long record of lashing out at neighboring states to warn outside powers against any possible intervention in its internal affairs, he pointed out.
The North is gearing up for what it claims to be "important physical countermeasures" against the U.S. and South Korea in retaliation for fresh U.N. sanctions on it.
"This threat now encompasses the potential use of nuclear weapons," Pollack said.
Pollack said the U.S. and China should disclose information on the location, operation and capabilities of each other's military forces that could rapidly intervene in North Korea.
The two sides will have to "share intelligence on the known or suspected locations of North Korea's weapons of massive destruction (WMD) assets," he said.
Scott Snyder, senior researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), also urged Washington and Beijing to redouble efforts to narrow perception gaps on Pyongyang.
"China's focus on peninsular stability was a function of a geostrategic view of the peninsula as a zero-sum competition for influence between China and the United States, while Washington talked denuclearization without sufficient attention to China's geostrategic concerns," he said in a recent writing on what Obama needs to do in his second term with regard to Korea.
He said establishing a South Korea-U.S.-China dialogue on North Korea, as proposed by the incoming South Korean leader Park Geun-hye, would "provide an improved basis for forging trilateral cooperation measures."
Snyder said over the last four years Obama played "small ball" with North Korea, which resulted in limited accomplishments for Washington.
Although North Korea's military ties with Libya and Myanmar have shrunken thanks to political transitions there, Pyongyang forged an agreement with Iran last year on scientific and technical cooperation, he said.
"Given steady North Korean progress in developing its missile and nuclear programs, your administration should pursue a more active strategy designed to shape North Korea's environment," Snyder said. (Yonhap News)