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Lecture 4

Pols396 week 4 readings part 1 China and North Korea A fragile relationship born of strategic convenience.docx

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Queen's University
Political Studies
POLS 396
Dru Lauzon

Pols396 week 4 readings part 1 (China and North Korea: A fragile relationship born of strategic convenience)  The common view is that China is North Korea’s ally since they share a similar political system and considerable strategic interests in regional international relations. o North Koreas strategic value to China is that it provides a buffer by keeping US military presence away from the Chinese border. o For North Korea Chinas value is that  1) it is the main bridge for it to reach other main players in that region. It serves as an important communications hub linking the DPRK and its hostile neighbors.  2) The only country that maintains a good relationship with both Koreas. Thus the two see china as a useful mediator in preventing some unexpected events from happening.  3) China is the only country that is still under obligation to offer military assistance to North Korea.  4) Because of the current economic crisis in the North, China is thus an indispensible provider of crucial aid to the famine ridden people in the country.  The paper is an attempt to demonstrate that beneath the surface of the alliance between them the two countries share very few common interests.  The current troubles of the bi-lateral relationship have deep historical roots that can be traced back to the beginning of the DPRK. o The early DPRK elites were composed of two major sources  1) Korean revolutionary fighters based in china  2) and those based in the Soviet Union o In the power struggle for supremacy in mid 1940 Kim Il-sung ( Belonged to those fighters based in China) rallied behind the China-Based factions and achieved the ultimate leadership. Then he purged his peers one after another, with the help of the USSR trained cadets. This he destroyed both the pro-China group within the party leadership and planted seeds of great dissatisfaction among Chinas first generation leaders.  Maos refusal to support the old Kim’s successions plan for Kim Junior also profoundly damaged Sino-North Korea relations and its residual effect is still felt today. o He emphasized that there had not been any family succession in the communist world. Power transfer
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