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What's at stake for China in North Korea

Andy Wong / AP

Amid escalating anxieties that North Korean tensions with the U.S. might lead to all out war, this week America sent its highest-ranking military officer to do the rounds to try and patch up differences and assuage some fears about military operations, visiting South Korea first, then China and Japan.

And it actually appears to have worked — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford signed a deal with his Chinese counterpart to increase operational communication between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. The idea is to avoid miscommunication and inadvertent encounters in the military realm.

This comes on the heels of last week's South China Sea encounter, in which China told a U.S. warship to turn around 10 times, claiming the U.S. "violated Chinese and international law." But the Pentagon told Axios the move was lawful. (This probably didn't cause the visit, but they likely discussed it; the WSJ reports the visit was planned in advance of last week.)