China’s approach to North Korea

Seeking stability and influence amid changing circumstances and conflicting imperatives

Authored by: Robert G. Sutter

East and South-East Asia

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436396
eBook ISBN: 9780203146026
Adobe ISBN:


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After a period of several years of seemingly close US and Republic of Korea (South Korean) co-operation with the People’s Republic of China in the Six-Party Talks and other venues in response to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korean) nuclear weapons tests and related proliferation activities, US and South Korean officials and commentators were surprised and angered by China’s refusal to condemn North Korea’s military provocations in 2010. The sinking in March 2010 of the South Korean warship Cheonan killed 46 South Korean sailors, and the artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010 killed South Korean soldiers and civilians. Chinese commentators also rebuffed US efforts to support South Korea and deter North Korean aggression in military exercises in the Yellow Sea.

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