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China-Korea Relations: Seeking Alignment on North Korean Policy

Authors: Scott A. Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy, and See-won Byun, George Washington University
May 2013
Comparative Connections


South Korea and China both welcomed new leaders as Park Geun-hye marked her inauguration on Feb. 25 and Xi Jinping began his presidential term on March 14. Both leaders sent signals prior to assuming power that they wanted to repair relations that had frayed under their predecessors. They also faced an early challenge from Kim Jong Un as North Korea defiantly responded to two UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions passed in the first two months of the year, condemning Pyongyang's December 2012 rocket launch and third nuclear test. Escalating tensions in Korea provided an urgent rationale for Park and Xi to redouble efforts to establish a stable relationship and to respond to North Korean provocations. China and South Korea must establish a productive relationship and coordinate policies toward North Korea in the context of an increasingly challenging regional political and strategic environment.

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