June 09, 2023

Debating “lips and teeth”: Talking North Korea sanctions in China

Both Washington policy and Beijing propaganda assume there is a unitary Chinese position on the DPRK

In approaching the issue of Chinese support of sanctions on North Korea, benefits can be drawn from decentering the analysis from North Korea itself. We need to look more closely at the various Chinese constituencies whose participation - or passivity - is needed in order for sanctions to fulfill their intended function.

China is too frequently seen as a unitary actor when it comes to North Korea, which muddies our understanding of how sanctions might or might not be applied.