Comparative Connections v.18 n.2 - China-Korea
Relations in "Kim Jung Un's Era"
September 13, 2016Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee Ri Su Yong visited Beijing at the end of May to deliver a message of friendship from Kim Jong Un and to report on the results of the WPK Congress, which reportedly marked the “official start to Kim Jong-un’s era.” Ri’s visit drew attention to Pyongyang’s nuclear policy as a continued source of friction in relations with Beijing. China-ROK tensions rose with the announcement of a US-ROK agreement to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and South Korean protests against illegal Chinese fishing. EEZs remain another point of China-ROK tension. Although China and South Korea seek to advance trade within various frameworks, such efforts only highlight a widening gap between the economic and political aspects of their relationship. Current security priorities require effective approaches to both immediate differences over THAAD and EEZs and longer-term preferences over how to effectively promote lasting stability on the Korean Peninsula.