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China-DPRK Relations: From Ally to Albatross

Presentation titled "China-DPRK Relations: From Ally to Albatross" delivered by Shorenstein APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, South Korea, on June 28, 2017, part of the public seminar co-sponsored by Shorenstein APARC and The Sejong Institute.

Most contemporary characterizations of China’s relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are woefully and misleadingly out of date. Both sides have abandoned descriptions of the relationship as “closer than lips and teeth” because mutual distrust is a more accurate characterization than are terms like friendship, ideological affinity, or shared animosity toward the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The most important things they have in common are a shared border and mutual conviction that national security requires possession of nuclear weapons.