Between Development and Security
Edited by Catherine Jones and Sarah Teitt
Chapter 3: Who’s or whose China? In relation to North Korea
Representation of China and its relationship to North Korea (DPRK) form an essential element in understanding the dynamics of relations on the Korean peninsula. Over the last two decades China has been portrayed as being a ‘big brother’ to North Korea, an enduring ally and economic partner, but also a begrudging friend, frustrated partner and an implementer and approver of UN sanctions. Scholars, therefore, remain divided on the precise role of China in promoting peace and security in North East Asia. In expanding on the importance of this relationship, academics and commentators have only recently begun to explore the many different security actors within foreign policy in China and their effect on this particular bilateral relationship. Despite the embryonic natures of these debates, authors have presented a convincing argument that the literature on China and North Korea must move beyond assessments of Beijing as a unitary actor in order to capture the complexity of the relationship. This chapter builds on these works by exploring not only the security but also the development aspects of this multiplicity of actors, finding that in its representation China is doubly homogenised by external actors – to the detriment of being able to develop understanding of, and responses to, China’s policies.
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