February 24, 2024
Analysis

What does China think of Kim Jong Nam’s death?

Netizens express outrage, but uniformity of expert reaction suggests a government hand

The assassination of Kim Jong Nam on February 13 came after months of political shifts throughout Northeast Asia and continued North Korean recalcitrance. China's central government has found itself in a difficult position, and this has affected national discourse on the topic.

The assassination sidelined bilateral cooperation and perplexed Chinese observers, but responses from Chinese social media, academic and professional observers, as well as diplomatic officials, suggests the government is undertaking a balancing act to reign in North Korea while ensuring that rhetoric between Beijing and Pyongyang does not spiral out of control.