Although North and South Korea are still far away from any sort of reunification, both nations have said that remains an ultimate goal. Such a move is hardly on the table for this week's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. Still, any draw down in tensions would be a step toward reunification.
China's opinion on North Korea's affairs is important because Beijing is the primary economic and political benefactor of Pyongyang.
"The Chinese have always argued that they actually support the reunification of the Korean Peninsula because when they look at their own case (of) the Taiwan Straits and the reunification that China is trying to achieve, to obstruct the reunification of the Korean Peninsula is almost morally unacceptable and is morally wrong for China to take that position," Yun Sun, director of the China program at Washington think tank the Stimson Center, said Wednesday.
"What the Chinese have always conveyed to the Americans and to the South Koreans is that 'we don't have problems with the reunification, but we have concerns about the future of the U.S.-South Korea alliance,'" Sun added.
Should some form of inter-Korean reunion eventually happen, the big concerns for China would be: "Does the alliance still exist? Will the U.S. have troops basically going north to the Chinese border?" Sun told CNBC.
Beijing will want answers from the U.S. and South Korea on that front, she added.
U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea since the 1950s. There were more than 26,000 American military personnel in the country at the end of 2018, according to data from the U.S. Defense Department.
"Without an acceptable arrangement or a grand bargain, if you will, on that front, I don't think China will be particularly supportive of reunification," Sun said.