History will see that our snubbing China out of these talks could be the diplomatic rift that will ultimately be the cause of China siding with North Korea when we ultimately invade North Korea. China in a way has earned this because they've shown no real interest in halting North Korea's proliferation of nuclear weapons. According to the NY Times North Korea is believed to already be nuclear.
Some things we need to know is that the US will probably realize that China will be brought into this war. The reason why China is satisfied with the status quot is because of our previous history with the Monroe Doctrine, Marshall Plan, and Cold War because North Korea has offered them a buffer from the US. China has also been reported to have changed it's sea borders to push out more into international waters, I would ultimately guess that they want to offer as much of a buffer as possible from Western influence. According to Wikileaks China does support the reunification of Korea where the South controls, but they don't want the US to cross over into the what would be the former North which furthers my argument of China wanting a buffer. Also, depending on what you read, China see's the US as positioning itself to invade China later on.
Considering Wikileaks has provided documentation stating the North Korea is a target and that the Bush Administration labeled North Korea as the Axis of Evil, we shouldn't expect anything less than war plans being drawn up with the 3 party talks in Washington. One thing that President Obama said during his campaign is that he didn't believe that the US should be the world police and that he wanted to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't think that's what he's going to do. I don't think that South Korea or Japan will let the Obama get away with just diplomatic sanctions on North Korea because they are the ones on the front line. South Korea's politicians are under the gun to do something about North Korea and as a representative government they will follow the will of the people. Japan was allowed to militarize under the Bush Administration, probably because both parties knew we couldn't defend Japan, and the US will capitalize on this by trying to use Japan as a pawn.
The thing the 3 parties don't realize is that North Korea and China are both prepared for war. I think that if there is any posturing other than the recent war games, China and North Korea will put themselves on alert. The thing that people don't realize is that the US and China are using the Korea's as pawns themselves. Putting it bluntly, both sides are egging eachother on using their influence with both sides. China is allowing North Korea to run rogue because it suits their interests with North Korea being a buffer zone and also they know the US will be eventually forced to attack. The US is using things like war games in South Korea to provoke the North Korean's into war. If the US attacks first, they will lose diplomatic advantage and China will be forced to side with North Korea, but if North Korea attacks first, it will make it harder for China to back North Korea and the global community will rally behind the South and US.
As long as North Korea doesn't do any more attacks the US will use the most recent events to say this was a level headed decision in the 3 party talks and that North Korea is an aggressive nation and needs to be taken down swiftly with military force. If North Korea decides they want to agitate more, it will be a big blunder which will end up with all 3 nations being able to act quickly. Either way, there will be war in the next few weeks to months over North Korea, they just may have to wait for the next North Korean agitation.
Eastern philosophy teaches things like honor, restraint, and integrity. There is no doubt in my mind because of the culture that China will back North Korea no matter what, the question is how hard to we make it. There is also no doubt in my mind that this will be the cause of WWIII, it's just deciding the specific event that leads to war. Before we get so hasty to go to war we should really think about the consequences of our actions. If you read my previous article on Wikileaks you will see the quotes of our Founding Fathers regarding diplomacy. This is a regional war, not a global war. We should support the South Koreans and the Japanese, but if we stay out of it I would be willing to bet so would the Chinese. If we leave this alone and allow the regional parties involved to sort this out, we could avoid WWIII, but the thing is we wont. I think the best thing to do is to support the South and Japan in what they decide to do and tell China if they get involved we'll get involved and this could go away with a victory for China and the US because both want reunification of the Korea's.