China Policy Institute: Analysis



China-North Korea Relations: Pitfalls and Possibilities

Written by Timothy Rich

China is frequently viewed through a myopic lens when it comes to North Korea. It is technically committed to the country’s defence under the 1961 Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty and is a lifeline to the Hermit Kingdom that undermines efforts to sanction the regime over its continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests. China comprises roughly three-quarters of North Korea’s imports and exports and even after the 2016 nuclear test, China emphasised that sanctions should not harm “normal trade”. However, oversimplifying China-North Korea relations creates a convenient scapegoat for Western observers frustrated over the lack of progress on rein in Pyongyang. This overlooks long-standing tensions between the two countries and risks overestimating China’s influence over its neighbour. At the same time, Chinese influence encourages domestic reforms in North Korea and although piecemeal, these reforms suggest ways to constrain North Korean belligerence. Continue reading “China-North Korea Relations: Pitfalls and Possibilities”

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”

São Tomé and Príncipe drops Taiwan, embraces China

Written by J. Michael Cole.

The African nation of São Tomé and Príncipe on December 20 announced that it was severing diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and establishing ties with the People’s Republic of China.

Following the news, Taipei announced that it was immediately severing diplomatic ties with the African country and withdrawing all diplomatic and technical personnel.

Taiwan now has 21 official diplomatic allies worldwide, and just two in Africa—Burkina Faso and Swaziland. Continue reading “São Tomé and Príncipe drops Taiwan, embraces China”

Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy and China

Written by Alek Chance.

The fact we must all immediately confront when thinking about America’s future foreign policy is that we know very little. Forecasting an incoming president’s foreign policy is always a difficult task—see, for example, the promised “humble” foreign policy of George W. Bush. Speculation about Trump’s direction is even less grounded than it normally is at this juncture. It is then important to ask ourselves, what do we know and what do we not know? Otherwise, we run the risk of constructing future expectations and understandings upon current misconceptions. More importantly, expectations about Trump may influence the decisions of other states in the near future, including China. Continue reading “Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy and China”

OBOR and the Marshall Plan.

Written by Simon Shen.

The concept of “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) continues to be at the center of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s travels abroad, whether to the 2015 G20 and APEC conferences or to the Middle East. Despite the enthusiasm demonstrated by China for this grand strategy, however, the strategic goals of OBOR are interpreted diversely by individuals. Recently, international relations scholars have compared OBOR with the U.S.-led Marshall Plan in the post-World War II era, but scholars from China argue that the OBOR and Marshall Plan are not comparable. Continue reading “OBOR and the Marshall Plan.”

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