China–North Korea Relations
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China–North Korea Relations

Between Development and Security

Edited by Catherine Jones and Sarah Teitt

Developing a new approach to exploring security relations between China and North Korea, this timely book examines China’s contradictory statements and actions through the lens of developmental peace. It highlights the differences between their close relationship on the one hand, and China’s votes in favour of sanctions against North Korea on the other, examining the background to this and its importance.
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Chapter 9: Conclusion

Sarah Teitt and Catherine Jones


The bulk of existing analysis on China’s engagement with North Korea has focussed on the strategic logic of Chinese policy. Beijing’s economic assistance and political support for Pyongyang is explained with respect to their historical ties, North Korea’s role as a ‘buffer’ zone between China and US military stationed in South Korea, or Beijing’s concern over a potential collapse of the North Korean regime that could usher an influx of refugees into China’s north-east region. While all of these issues hold some explanatory weight for China’s policy, they tend to pivot on a defensive logic. This volume, by contrast, has centred on a key premise: China’s developmental peace thesis can offer a more expansive logic for understanding China’s vision for and approach towards realizing peace and security on the Korean peninsula. The chapters in this volume have explored how analysing China’s policy through the prism of developmental peace might provide a richer account of Chinese agency, help to explain the rationale behind China’s engagement, and offer a Chinese-articulated frame of reference for critically evaluating China’s North Korea policy. Within this concluding chapter we highlight the importance and the contribution of this approach, but also seek to show that our contributors have also demonstrated that this approach does not emanate from a single entity, Beijing, but rather it is developed and implemented by a range of actors, adding nuance and variation to the shape and form of China’s engagement with North Korea.

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