Asia Program

Uneasy Allies: Fifty Years of China-North Korea Relations

Chen Jian, Samuel S. Kim, and Hazel Smith

This Special Report examines the long uneasy China-North Korea relationship, and in doing so also illumines the current nuclear crisis on the peninsula.Three experts, representing different academic disciplines—Chen Jian of the University of Virginia, Samuel S. Kim of Columbia University, and Hazel Smith of the University of Warwick—agree that China is poised to play an important role in resolving this crisis.The authors also concur that the relationship is far more complex and contentious than once thought. China’s motivations for seeking an end to the crisis are equally complex.While China wields some influence in Pyongyang, the authors contend that convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and come out from its isolation will not be easy.By analyzing the genesis of the relationship,its more recent history, and the socioeconomic dynamics of the China–North Korea border regions, these essays help to better understand the current crisis, making this Special Report important and timely.

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