China Weighs the Costs of a Volatile Friendship

Oct 24, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
China-North Korea Relations
Though Pyongyang's erratic policies routinely conflict with Beijing's own, China's options for shaping North Korea's behavior will be limited so long as protecting the small state on its border remains its greatest imperative.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the profound geopolitical changes that have occurred in Northeastern Asia over the past half-century, the basic foundation of the relationship between China and North Korea remains intact, as does the behavior it dictates. North Korea, split from its thriving and diplomatically dynamic southern half, has resumed its age-old pursuit for survival against perceived threats such as the United States. No longer satisfied with the limitations its former strategy entailed, however, Pyongyang has adopted an even more provocative approach, combining isolationism with military buildups and nuclear deterrence to hold the world's great powers at bay....

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