September 21, 2023

Under pressure: Can Beijing really change Pyongyang’s mind?

China isn't necessarily the key to change on the Korean Peninsula

North Korea has over recent months accelerated its nuclear program at unprecedented speed, triggering an arms race as well as a nuclear proliferation crisis in Northeast Asia. The decision to deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) by the South Korean-U.S. alliance, too, is the latest source of controversy both within South Korea and in Sino-South Korean relations.

But to determine how the international community can pressure North Korea to abandon its current track of nuclear armament and return to the negotiation table, one has to understand North Korea’s motivations for developing nuclear arms and ballistic technologies in the first place.