Disenchanted entanglement : the North Korean shades of grey on the Chinese mind

Xiangfeng YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the early 2000s, crises on the Korean Peninsula have prompted Chinese intellectuals and policy elites into fierce debates about Beijing’s North Korea policy. This study first provides an overview of those testy exchanges and then delves into the contestations about the bilateral relationship as well as the underlying assumptions beneath. On the question of identification, the Chinese are torn between characterizing North Korea as an ally or just as a neighbourly friend. On the question of whether its usefulness justifies continued Chinese support, the debates have revolved around North Korea as a geopolitical buffer, even though the strategic underpinnings are questionable. In both cases the mainstream views are fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies, which will certainly continue to hobble China’s North Korea policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-468
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Contemporary China
Issue number123
Early online date19 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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