January 21, 2021

China First: How Beijing is Reconsidering its DPRK Relations

China is publically reconsidering its relationship with North Korea and offering rare insight into Chinese calculus in balancing competing demands.  One response is to increase the numbers and quality of regional and global interactions.  DPRK is outside that structure. China, Japan and South Korea are developing the patterns of interaction and setting the rules for Northeast Asia.  DPRK can join in later, but will have to accept existing structures. All Chinese reactions up to and including the DPRK kidnapping Chinese fishermen indicate China will not take measures to destabilize North Korea.

Two scholars; two disciplines; one conclusion – China first, then DPRK