In China, ties with North Korea have traditionally been referred to as “close as lips and teeth.” But with North Korea recently dropping the word “friendly” in describing China as “neighbour”, tension between the two allies is building.
Beijing has grown increasingly frustrated at North Korea’s antics, which in recent months includes pushing ahead with a nuclear programme, stating it is “ready” to sink a US aircraft Carrier, staging a grandiose military parade in commemoration of founding father Kim Il-sung, and assassinating Kim Jong Un’s brother Kim Jong Nam.
US President Donald Trump’s response in Syria has added complexity to the North Korea situation. As he learned fom a 10-minute crash course by Chinese president Xi Jinping, “It’s not so easy.”
What are the driving factors in the China-North Korea relationship and what is its future?
We invite Andrea Berger, Senior Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Paul French, author of “North Korea: State of Paranoia” to discuss.
Andrea Berger is a London-based Senior Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, where she focuses on East Asian nuclear issues, export control and sanctions, and proliferation finance. Andrea is also a contributor to the Arms Control Wonk blog and a co-host of the Arms Control Wonk podcast.
Between 2012-2015, she led Track 1.5 security talks with the North Korean People’s Army and Worker’s Party in Pyongyang and London. Prior to joining CNS, Andrea was the Deputy Director of the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy team at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and directed the UK’s network of next-generation nuclear professionals. She also worked for the Government of Canada in a number of analytical capacities, lastly in Global Affairs Canada.
Andrea holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Carleton University and an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London.
Paul French is an author and journalist specialising in China and North Korea. His history of the DPRK – North Korea State of Paranoia – was first published in 2004 and has been constantly updated and reissued ever since. He is also the author of the e-book Our Supreme Leader: The Making of Kim Jong-un. French lived in China for many years and first visited the DPRK in 2002. French appears regularly to commentate on the DPRK on BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 News and via op-eds in the Washington Post and Reuters among others.