November 29, 2023

The state of the alliance: Beijing-Pyongyang relations in 2017

Leeds University's Adam Cathcart says Pyongyang has more leverage over Beijing than many imagine

On November 20, Xi Jinping's envoy Song Tao returned from a trip to North Korea. While the visit was framed as being strictly about party business - Song was due to brief Workers' Party officials on the recent Communist Party of China National Congress  - all eyes were on whether Song would meet with Kim Jong Un.

He didn't, and just nine days later North Korea test-launched the Hwasong-15, a new missile which, it claims, can strike the entire U.S. with a nuclear weapon. The timing was not lost on U.S. President Trump, who tweeted: “the Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man…”