June 02, 2023

Pandemic ‘paranoia’ in Pyongyang stalled warming ties with Beijing: Report

Restrictions on trade undermined diplomatic gains with China, according to US, but expert says relations are ‘stable’

China-DPRK relations have stagnated over the last year due to Pyongyang’s extreme COVID-19 prevention measures, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) states in a report released Wednesday, as the country’s near-total border lockdown stymied both trade and diplomatic exchange between the two communist nations.

The DoD attributes the DPRK’s pandemic policy to “paranoia” in the congressionally mandated report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.” The annual document assesses the objectives of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) across several domains, including on the Korean Peninsula.