China Policy Institute Blog

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 …

Keeping China in Check: How North Korea Manages its Relationship with a Superpower

Written by Adam Cathcart. Around the world today, knowing how and when to deflect the will of the Chinese Communist Party seems to be something of a common theme. Beijing’s confidence is manifest at every turn: When one of its top leaders arrives in London, China seems to expect nothing less than audiences with the Queen, …

Abusive Convenience: Recent Chinese-North Korean Relations

Written by Adam Cathcart. In the lengthening aftermath of the Jang Song-taek execution, writers who are fond of metaphors for Chinese-North Korean relations can take heart. The bilateral relationship which had been “like lips and teeth” continues its transition into a new era, one of bleeding lips, or, as the historian Shen Zhihua puts it, …

Tuning Out Beijing’s Six-Party Drumbeat

Written by Adam Cathcart. You know things are not going particularly well for China’s diplomatic efforts in Pyongyang when a visit by a small second-rank student song-and-dance ensemble from Dalian starts to look like of some kind of breakthrough in relations. But with the DPRK making ever-louder noises about some new-style nuclear deterrent, that is …

Red Lines and Correct Roads: Recent Chinese Policy Discourse on North Korea

Written by Adam Cathcart. When Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about “a red line” at a press conference at the National People’s Congress on Saturday, one could be forgiven for imagining that China was in the process of standing up once and for all to North Korea’s transgressive behaviour. After all, in the preceding days, Kim Jong-un …

Pressing North Korea through economic sanctions: Does it work?

Written by Gyubin Choi. Inter-Korean relations could hardly be worse than they are currently. After North Korea’s third nuclear test on 12 February 2013, the military hot line between the two Koreas was disconnected, and the last symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation, the Gaeseong Industrial Complex suspended its operations.[1] In response to the UN Security …

North Korea is Another ‘Upper Volta with Nukes,’ so Ignore Them

Written by Robert E. Kelly. Earlier this month, I posted my thoughts on the North Korea (NK) crisis at the Diplomat, where I called NK the ‘boy who cried wolf’ because no one believes their bluster anymore. The piece enjoyed good traffic, and I am happy to take up the invitation of the China Policy …

China and the Korean Peninsula

Christoph Bluth is professor of International Studies at the University of Leeds. He is a specialist in international security and a world authority on security on the Korean Peninsula. He visited us at the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies last week to talk about China’s relations with both North and South Korea. Here’s the video …

How would China benefit from a united Korea?

By Steve Tsang The official Chinese reaction to North Korea’s third nuclear test is stern but lacks meaningful bite. Beijing proclaims itself “strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed” to the test, and has called for the resumption of international talks. Chinese leaders seemingly fail to recognize that this event is a game-changer, and that they no …

The Failed North Korean ‘Satellite’ Launch – an opportunity for a Sino-Japanese symbiotic solution?

By Mike Bastin. North Korea’s very recent rocket launch has of course provoked international condemnation and outrage, despite the fact that the rocket appears to have failed spectacularly. In fact, the failed launch is perhaps most remarkable for the unusually candid manner in which the North Korean media have reported the incident. Reports from North …