China’s Korean dilemma: influence and power on the Korean Peninsula

Written by James Hoare. The Chinese–Korean relationship has puzzled Westerners. While the Korean kingdom claimed to be independent, at the same time it seemed to accept a dependent status within the Chinese world order that was seen as a limitation on sovereignty. Yet in the 1870s and the early 1880s, while the Korean court consulted …

North Korea’s ABC (Anybody but China) diplomatic initiatives will face a harsh reality

Written by Brian Benedictus. The December 2013 execution of Jang Song-thaek, Uncle of  North leader Kim Jong-un and Beijing’s most trusted official within the country, was widely seen by many North Korea watchers as the starting point of relations between the two countries plummeting to their lowest level in history. Last July, Xi Jinping became the …

Xi Jinping’s Nanking Massacre Commemoration and China’s Anti-Japanese Calendar

Written by Adam Cathcart. 2014 has been a banner year for the Chinese Communist Party’s politics of historical commemoration of the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). As the Party has faced a host of internal challenges to its legitimacy from within and around its periphery, Xi Jinping and the CCP have remained steadfast in …

North Korean Scholars and Koguryo: How to Reignite a Historical Controversy on Chinese National Day

Written by Adam Cathcart. It doesn’t take much skill at reading tea-leaves in Chinese or English to recognize that Kim Jong-un’s letter of congratulations to Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Zhang Dejiang on the PRC’s National Day fell far short of what, from a Chinese perspective, it should have been. Kim’s three brief sentences were newsworthy …