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  • Author: Thomas J. Christensen
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sino-U.S. cooperation should be based on the pursuit of mutual interests rather than on a framework of mutual respect for “core interests,” as pledged in the 2009 Joint Statement. There is a perception in Beijing that when China assists the United States with problems on the international stage it is doing the United States a favor, and thus it expects returns in kind. This is inaccurate since almost everything that the United States asks of China is directly in China's own interest. If the Six-Party Talks process fails permanently, many countries, including China and the United States, will suffer costs. The biggest losers will be the North Korean people, but second will be China, not the United States. The Chinese government has been increasingly sensitive to a domestic political environment of heated popular nationalism, expressed in the media and on the blogosphere. China suffers from a stunted version of a free press, in which most criticism of government policy is from a hawkish, nationalist direction. A cooperative U.S.-China relationship should be built around the pursuit of mutual global interests. The two countries have worked together successfully on several projects, including antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and there is potential for further cooperation on issues such as climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, and counterterrorism, to name a few.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing, North Korea
  • Author: Bates Gill
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the course of 2010, China has taken a more conciliatory official approach toward recent North Korean provocations, putting it at odds with South Korea, Japan, and the United States. At least three factors shape China's interactions with North Korea: an increase in the number of actors with a perceived interest in shaping foreign policy decision-making, a deepening of opinion among Chinese elites on foreign policy matters, and an expansion in the forms and contents of expression in China. The primary strategic goal on which nearly all parties in China agree is stability. A policy has been developed that aims to achieve stability by emphasizing economic development in North Korea, better understanding the present and future North Korean political-military system, and developing a closer relationship with it. For the United States and its allies, these developments call for an even deeper understanding of internal debates and politics regarding foreign and security policy development and decision-making in China. These developments also demand an even more hard-nosed recognition of Chinese interests in North Korea and the kind of partner Beijing is—or is not—likely to be in supporting U.S. and allied priorities on the Korean peninsula.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel, North Korea
  • Author: Drew Thompson, Carla Freeman
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2009, Chinese President Hu Jintao and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il exchanged greetings and declared 2009 the “year of China-DPRK friendship,” marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Despite pledges to deepen cooperation and promote exchanges, however, the New Year began with the China-North Korean border closed and pervasive uncertainty about Kim's health and the political stability of the DPRK. For Beijing, Pyongyang's behavior and renewed tensions between the two Koreas raise its concerns about the prospects for broader regional conflict. It also sees developments on the peninsula as they may affect its own territory should instability in the DPRK spill into Northeast China. It is Kim Jong Il's failure to reform the North Korean economy and take measures to institute a succession process to enhance political predictability in the country that are a source of anxiety both among senior leaders in Beijing and local leaders in areas along the DPRK border. Nowhere is the uncertainty about North Korea's future more acutely felt than in China's border region with North Korea, and there are few places where these concerns are closer to home than in Jilin Province's Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. With more than 800,000 Chinese-Koreans and a 522 km long land border with North Korea, Yanbian is likely to bear the brunt of failures in China's policies toward its difficult neighbor.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea