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The recent leadership change in China warrants a comprehensive evaluation of China’s policies toward the Korean Peninsula over the past twenty years under the auspices of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. History can serve as a mirror, offering us clues as to how Xi Jinping and his government may approach Korea in the future. This paper finds that the leadership change in China from Jiang to Hu did not disrupt policy continuity. Changes under the new leadership were incremental, and even though the Chinese government’s approach toward Korea has become increasingly active, Hu Jintao and his associates made little significant progress in the Six-Party Talks. Hu’s lackluster achievements reveal that China has not been able to play a defining role in addressing North Korea’s nuclear program, forging a permanent peace mechanism on the peninsula, and normalizing the DPRK’s relations with the United States and other Western powers.