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China Policy Institute: Analysis

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China- North Korea relations

Targeting Northeastern Tigers: The Anti-Corruption Campaign in Liaoning

Written by Adam Cathcart

In assessing the depth and the impact of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, few provinces are as interesting as Liaoning (遼寧). The reason for this curiosity comes in part because Liaoning, quite simply, is the buckle on the north-eastern “rust belt,” having once been the beating industrial heart and the molten steel veins of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) modernization project. Today, it is also an area where extensive corruption has come to light amid industrial restructuring, a downturn in the coal industry, uniquely negative economic numbers, and a huge election-fraud scandal exposed last September. Continue reading “Targeting Northeastern Tigers: The Anti-Corruption Campaign in Liaoning”

Sino-North Korean Relations: Blood Allies without Mutual Trust

Written by Mikyoung Kim.

Unlike South Korea which submitted itself to the US for security protection, North Korea has never compromised its national defence with China. That is despite often cited historical precedents: the Sino-North Korea Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty which remains effective until 2021; and China’s participation in the Korean War (1950-53) which caused 180,000 deaths of Chinese soldiers. While these precedents resulted in the term of “blood allies,” the empirical details reveal the description being close to a euphemism at its best, or a hyperbole at its worse.  Continue reading “Sino-North Korean Relations: Blood Allies without Mutual Trust”

China, South Korea, the U.S. and THAAD

Written by Stephan Haggard.

It is hard to know which country would be the first to challenge the Trump administration with a serious foreign policy crisis, but North Korea was clearly a candidate. With Kim Jong Un’s personal promise to test when he felt like it in his New Year’s speech and Trump’s “not going to happen,” it seemed like a good bet that Pyongyang would provide an early test. But as Secretary of Defense Mattis heads to the Asia-Pacific to reassure Japan and Korea on the alliances, the real test may be more subtle: subtle Chinese pressure on South Korea to reverse its commitment to deploy a missile-defense system called THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Areas Defense). Continue reading “China, South Korea, the U.S. and THAAD”

To curb North Korea’s nuclear program, follow the money

Written by John S Park.

North Korea’s fifth nuclear test on September 9 sparked a new round of questions about how to contain this rapidly growing threat. Like clockwork, the United States and its northeast Asian allies are already preparing another dose of sanctions.

Most U.S. defense experts believe that a military response against North Korea would quickly escalate to open conflict with massive casualties. Instead, the world community has responded to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in recent years by constantly tightening economic and political sanctions on Pyongyang. Since North Korea’s first nuclear test in October 2006, the United Nations Security Council has adopted five resolutions designed to deny North Korea access to components for its nuclear and missile programs. Continue reading “To curb North Korea’s nuclear program, follow the money”

Reading Chinese media responses to a North Korean defection

Written by Adam Cathcart.

No matter where they are working around the world, most journalists (like aspiring novelists) love a good cloak-and-dagger story. And when it comes to occurrences more ripe for investigation, speculation and opining, there are few events more defining than the defection of a high-level diplomat from one state to its existential rival. The questions that arise from such events themselves create a kind of frisson of possibility. With apologies for the normative use of the male pronoun, we can ask: For how long had he planned his leap from one set of loyalties to another? How had he prevented discovery of his plan, and how did he escape? Was he in mortal danger? What did he know, and how much did he tell the intelligence services in the new state into whose hands he had entrusted himself? Why did he defect? And what – and who – did he leave behind?

Continue reading “Reading Chinese media responses to a North Korean defection”

Why China takes a softly-softly line on North Korea

Written by Astrid Nordin.

In the run up to its first party congress since 1980, the North Korean government increased its drive to develop nuclear weapons, raising tensions in the region. This has alarmed and angered neighbouring countries, and particularly China, whose president Xi Jinping made clear at a recent conference that China will not tolerate chaos on the Korean peninsula.

At the same time, many outsiders suggest that Beijing’s close relationship with Pyongyang means that China has a crucial role in reining in North Korea – and that it could do so if it really wanted to. Continue reading “Why China takes a softly-softly line on North Korea”

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