In Tillerson's China Stop, Questions on North Korea but Slim Chance of Clarity

David E. Sanger
New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in Beijing early Saturday for a brief visit, amid confusing signals about President Trump’s position on two questions looming over the confrontation with North Korea: Is America’s long-term...

China to Shut down North Korean Companies

BBC
China has told North Korean companies operating in its territory to close down as it implements United Nations sanctions against the reclusive state.

There’s One North Korea Taboo China's Leaders Won’t Talk About

Ting Shi and David Tweed
Bloomberg
In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses?

Sinica Podcast

09.22.17

North Korea Behind the Scenes

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
North Korea is a mystery to nearly everyone—even those who have dedicated their lives to studying the country, including Korean experts based in Seoul, national security experts in Washington or Beijing, and a variety of foreigners who have spent...

Conversation

09.21.17

What Will China Do if the U.S. Attacks North Korea?

Shen Dingli, Bonnie S. Glaser & more
During a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that if North Korea threatened the United States or its allies, he would “totally destroy” the nation. As tensions continue to rise between...

Lankov: Russia, China Nearing N. Korea Limit

CNN
North Korea watcher Andrei Lankov tells CNN both Russia and China are coming close to their own red line concerning North Korea.

Why China Won’t Pressure North Korea as Much as Trump Wants

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
At the center of the North Korean nuclear crisis is a pivotal question: How much is China really willing to pressure and punish its longtime ally in Pyongyang? Recent conversations in Beijing and Washington suggest that Chinese leaders have decided...

China’s State Media Blasts US Handling of North Korea Crisis

Kristin Huang
South China Morning Post
China has shown its deepening frustration over the North Korean missile test crisis, with a commentary in the state-run People’s Daily blaming the United States for hindering efforts to resolve the issue.

Chinese Academics Prod Beijing to Consider North Korea Contingencies

Reuters Staff
Reuters
Chinese academics are publicly broaching the idea that China and the United States should share plans on how to deal with a potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula, a sign some say of how North Korea’s weapons test may be making Beijing more open...

What Would China Do If North Korea and the United States Go to War?

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
The US should sit down with China before pursuing a discussion with North Korea on how to solve the Korean peninsula’s nuclear crisis, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

Smuggling Operations at Sea Targeted in Latest UN Sanctions against North Korea

Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post
The UN has called on member states to use “new tools” to clamp down on smuggling activities at sea under the latest sanctions against North Korea following its nuclear test last week.

China and Russia Warn the U.S. Not to Seek North Korean Regime Change

Ting Shi and David Tweed
Bloomberg
In supporting a watered-down version of North Korea sanctions, China and Russia had a stern warning for the U.S.: Don’t try to overthrow Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Tillerson Is Working with China and Russia — Very, Very Quietly

David Ignatius
Washington Post
The Tillerson approach focuses on personal diplomacy, in direct contacts with Chinese and Russian leaders, and through private channels to North Korea. His core strategic assumption is that if the United States can subtly manage its relations with...

China Will Back Fresh U.N. Measures on North Korea over Nuclear Tests

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
China’s foreign minister said Thursday that Beijing would support further U.N.-imposed “measures” against North Korea following its largest nuclear test, but stopped short of saying whether China would back crippling economic sanctions such as halts...

South Korea Calls for Cutting North Korea’s Oil Supplies but Russia Is Reluctant

Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Washington Post
Amid escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-In sought Russian backing Wednesday for calls to block critical crude oil supplies to the North Korean regime after its latest nuclear test.

Bad News, World: China Can’t Solve the North Korea Problem

Max Fisher
New York Times
After each North Korean provocation, a soothing mantra echoes through the halls of government and think tanks in the United States.

North Korea Nuclear Test Puts Pressure on China and Undercuts Xi

Jane Perlez
New York Times
It was supposed to be Xi Jinping’s moment to bask in global prestige, as the Chinese president hosted the leaders of some of the world’s most dynamic economies at a summit meeting just weeks before a Communist Party leadership conference.

China Can Squeeze Its Neighbors When It Wants. Ask South Korea

Jethro Mullen
CNN
South Korean businesses have been suffering since early this year after the country angered the Chinese government with the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system. The victims include companies in tourism and retail, but also Hyundai (HYMTF),...

China Says North Korea Tensions Have Reached 'Tipping Point'

Agence France Presse
South China Morning Post
China warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached a “tipping point” after North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile over Japan, but said the United States and South Korea are partly to blame. 

Trump on China: ‘I Want Tariffs. And I Want Someone to Bring Me Some Tariffs’

MarketWatch
President Donald Trump demanded tariffs against China at a recent White House meeting, according to a new report, dismissing concerns from his “globalist” advisers.

China Demands U.S. Immediately Withdraw N. Korea Sanctions, Warns Will Hit Ties

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China demanded the United States immediately withdraw a package of sanctions on companies and individuals trading with North Korea on Wednesday, and said the decision by the Trump administration will damage Sino–U.S. ties.

Can the United States Play North Korea against China?

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
For decades, the United States has been trying to get China to use its influence and power to isolate North Korea. Now, experts are asking, why doesn’t the United States try working with North Korea to isolate China? That could be a game...

China's Crackdown on North Korea over U.N. Sanctions Starts to Pinch

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Trucks packed with seafood were backed up, bumper to bumper, at the Chinese border with North Korea. Protesters carried red banners demanding compensation. And Chinese businessmen who have been making big money from North Korean crabs,...

Here’s How Chinese Companies Are Acting As Shopping Agencies To Help North Korea Violate Sanctions

Jonathan Kaiman and Barbara Demick
Los Angeles Times
Cai didn’t know what he was bringing into North Korea, and he didn’t dare ask.Whenever the 49-year-old truck driver crossed the bridge into North Korea, the cargo was carefully wrapped so he couldn’t see what was inside.

China’s Energy Exports To North Korea Plummet–But It’s Not Because of Sanctions

Kristin Huang
South China Morning Post
China’s energy exports to North Korea — including electricity and oil and gas products — have fallen sharply.Experts said the drop may partly be due to Pyongyang becoming more self—sufficient in producing energy rather than the impact of sanctions...

China Bans North Korea Iron, Lead, Coal Imports as Part of U.N. Sanctions

Washington Post
China announced a ban on imports of iron ore, iron, lead and coal from North Korea on Monday, increasing economic pressure on the Pyongyang regime while moving to implement a package of sanctions put together by the U.N. Security Council.

Conversation

08.10.17

Should China Support the U.S. in a War with North Korea?

Ryan Hass, Susan Shirk & more
On August 9, U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if it does not stop threatening the United States, it will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Just hours later, the...

Why Trump’s North Korea Threat Is the Last Thing China Needs

Ben Wescott
CNN
US President Donald Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” against North Korea couldn’t come at a worse time for China.

China Willing to ‘Pay a Price’ for Stronger North Korea Sanctions

James Griffiths and Serenitie Wang
CNN
China is willing to take the economic hit of greater sanctions on North Korea, a top official said Monday, as Washington continues to pressure Beijing on the issue.

Doubts over New ‘Compromise’ UN Sanctions on North Korea as China Emerges Unscathed

Shi Jingtao
South China Morning Post
Beijing scored diplomatic points with its endorsement of tougher United Nations sanctions against North Korea, avoiding a showdown with Washington over Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear provocations.

A grand bargain with China could remove North’s nuclear threat — but it would destroy America’s global influence

Michael Auslin
Los Angeles Times
With North Korea’s latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, one apparently capable of reaching California, the American foreign policy community is struggling to find a way — short of war — to end the threat from Pyongyang. In the media...

China Welcomes U.S. Seeking Dialogue with North Korea

Michael Martina
Reuters
China on Thursday welcomed comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States does not seek to topple the North Korean government and would like dialogue with Pyongyang at some point, saying China had always supported talks.

China Rebukes Trump: ‘Emotional Venting’ Is Not Policy

Negassi Tesfamichael
Politico
President Donald Trump's tweets and “emotional venting” aimed at China over the weekend can't serve as a substitute for substantive policy discussions, the country’s state news agency said late Monday.

China Hits Back at Trump Criticism over North Korea

Ben Blanchard and Elias Glenn
Reuters
China hit back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” in China following Pyongyang's latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.

Trump Plan on China May Come as Soon as This Week

Andrew Restuccia and Josh Dawsey
Politico
President Donald Trump’s top advisers are huddling behind the scenes in a bid to craft a set of economic measures meant to punish China, two administration officials told POLITICO.

Pence Pressures China on North Korea, Talks Russia Sanctions, Election Meddling

Deena Zaru
CNN
Vice President Mike Pence spoke forcefully about reining in North Korea’s nuclear program during his trip to Estonia on Sunday, saying that “all options are on the table” in countering the threat.

Pence Pressures China on North Korea, Talks Russia Sanctions, Election Meddling

Deena Zaru
CNN
Vice President Mike Pence spoke forcefully about reining in North Korea’s nuclear program during his trip to Estonia on Sunday, saying that “all options are on the table” in countering the threat.

Why is China Reinforcing its Border With North Korea?

James Griffiths, Serenitie Wang
CNN
China is further fortifying its border with North Korea, new reports show, amid continued tensions on the peninsula and concerns over potential US military action against Pyongyang.

An ‘Alternative Future’ for the Korean Peninsula

Paul Haenle & Evans Revere from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Despite widespread international condemnation of North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, strategic distrust and misperceptions continue to impede deeper cooperation between the United States and China on the nuclear...

Sinica Podcast

07.24.17

Straight Talk on North Korea and China

Jeremy Goldkorn & Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor and strategic researcher at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, is an expert on Chinese and Russian security strategies. He is also an insightful commentator on what is going on...

Viewpoint

07.22.17

Why Korean Reunification is in China’s Strategic National Interest

Jamie Metzl
North Korea’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile has highlighted once again both the extent to which Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and aggressive behavior is destabilizing the Asia Pacific region and the relative impotence...

China Is Trading More with North Korea but Buying Much Less Coal

CNN
A Chinese government official said Thursday that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period last year.

China Says ‘China Responsibility Theory’ on North Korea Has to Stop

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China hit back on Tuesday in unusually strong terms at repeated calls from the United States to put more pressure on North Korea, urging a halt to what it called the “China responsibility theory,” and saying all parties needed to pull their weight.

China Envoy Says North Korea Trade Growth Picture ‘Distorted’

CNBC
China’s ambassador to the United States has said reports of trade growth between his country and North Korea, in spite of international efforts to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programs, give “a distorted picture.”

Books

07.10.17

Destined for War

Graham Allison
China and the United States are headed toward a war neither wants. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred 16 times. War broke out in 12 of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the 17th case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the 21st century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past—and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today. —Houghton Mifflin Harcourt{chop}

Viewpoint

07.09.17

Why Won’t China Help With North Korea? Remember 1956

Sergey Radchenko
President Donald J. Trump’s short-lived honeymoon with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping is over. On June 29, the U.S. imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank, a Chinese shipping company, and two Chinese nationals, all accused of helping...

US, China Divided over How to Deal with New North Korean ICBM Threat

Ben Wescott and Stella Kim
CNN
A paradigm-changing North Korean missile test has left the United States and China split over how to deal with the aggressive rogue state.

Depth of Field

06.29.17

Love, Robots, and Fireworks

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Included in this Depth of Field column are stories of love, community, remembrance, and the future, told through the discerning eyes of some of China’s best photojournalists. Among them, the lives of African migrants in Guangzhou, seven years inside...

Exclusive: China's CNPC Suspends Fuel Sales to North Korea as Risks Mount - Sources

Chen Aizhu
Reuters
China National Petroleum Corp has suspended sales of fuel to North Korea over concerns the state-owned oil company won't get paid, as pressure mounts on Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes.

New U.S. Ambassador to China Says North Korea a Top Priority

Christian Shepherd
Reuters
The new U.S. ambassador to China has said that stopping the threat posed by North Korea will be a top priority, along with resolving the U.S.-China trade imbalance, according to a video message to the Chinese people released on Monday.

U.S., China Meet on North Korea after Trump Points to Failed Chinese Effort

David Brunnstrom
Reuters
Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the United States and China began a day of talks in Washington on Wednesday looking for ways to press North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

China: Otto Warmbier’s Death ‘Unfortunate’

China on Tuesday (June 20) expressed sorrow over the death of US student Otto Warmbier following his release from North Korea in a coma, and urged Washington and Pyongyang to resolve tensions through dialogue. “I think this is an unfortunate thing...

China Is Reluctant to Blame North Korea, Its Ally, for Cyberattack

New York Times
China analysts say Beijing will hesitate before directly casting blame on North Korea even if evidence directly ties the North to the attack. Beijing is more likely to single out other actors, particularly the United States, experts say.

China Is Reluctant to Blame North Korea, Its Ally, for Cyberattack

PAUL MOZUR, JANE PERLEZ
New York Times
China analysts say Beijing will hesitate before directly casting blame on North Korea even if evidence directly ties the North to the attack. Beijing is more likely to single out other actors, particularly the United States, experts say.

Why China Will Never Put America First

J. Michael Cole
National Interest
The Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea.

North Korea Blights China’s One Belt, One Road Party with Missile Launch

James Griffiths
North Korea’s missile launch Sunday came at a highly embarrassing time for China, its chief ally and economic partner. As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepared to inaugurate the Belt and Road Forum, Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile from a base in...

North Korea Expected to Ask China for a Break at Summit

Kristin Huang
South China Morning Post
North Korea is expected to press China to tone down its economic sanctions when its delegation attends an infrastructure and trade summit in Beijing on Sunday, observers said.

After North Korea Criticism, China Says Wants to Be Good Neighbor

Reuters
China said on Thursday it wants to be good neighbors with North Korea, after the isolated country’s state news agency published a rare criticism of Chinese state media commentaries calling for tougher sanctions over the North’s nuclear program.

China Is Sending the U.S. a New Message about North Korea

Evelyn Cheng
CNBC
Beijing appears to be sending fresh signals about its view on North Korea, in order to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to take less aggressive action against the rogue nuclear state, several political analysts say.

China Reveals New Dongfeng Missiles

Hong Soon-do
Huffington Post
China has been staging its armed demonstrations recently, which seems to be aimed at suppressing rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.