North Korea

Korea Relations
Leading up to the most recent
Human Rights reports
History of Relationship
Exchanged diplomatic recognition
in October 6, 1949.
China supported North Korea in
the Korean War by receiving
refugees, dispatching combat
volunteers, and providing
economic aid.
In 1961, the two countries signed
the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid
and Cooperation Friendship Treaty.
Treaty renewed in 1981 and 2001,
now valid until 2021.
China has been backing North
Korea politically and economically
since Kim Il-Sung’s regime who
lived from 1912 to 1994.
Recent Relations
China is North Korea’s most important ally,
biggest trading partner, and primary source
for food, arms and fuel.
Bilateral trade was estimated at $6 billion
in 2011.
Estimates also claim that China provides
90% of North Korea’s energy imports, 80%
of North Korea’s consumer goods, and 45%
of its food.
However, there is speculation that China’s
patience has begun to grow thin due to
egregious behavior by the North Korean
North Korean Nuclear Tests
In reaction to nuclear tests by North
Korea in October 2006 China agreed to
UN Security Council Resolution 1718,
which imposed sanctions of Pyongyang,
the capitol of North Korea.
In May 2009 North Korea tested nuclear
weapons again, and received a reaction
of stricter sanctions from the UN and
In January 2013, North Korea threatened
another nuclear test that was to be
“aimed at the United States”, and this,
too, received a negative response from
Sinking of the South Korean Ship Cheonan
On March 26, 2010 the South
Korean ship Cheonan sank off the
nation’s west coast.
Multilateral investigations put on by
the U.K., Canada, Australia, the U.S.
and Sweden concluding that a North
Korean torpedo had sunk the ship
killing 46 sailors.
China denied the report as credible
amidst strong tensions.
The UN Security Council condemned
the attacks but did not explicitly
identify an attacker.
Artillery contact in Yeonpyeong
An artillery engagement took place between North
Korean and South Korean military forces on
Yeongpyeong Island on November, 23 2010.
Both claimed that the opposite side was instigator
Killed 4, injured 19.
The UN declared the incident one of the most
serious since the end of the Korean War.
China said that both sides should “do things
conducive to peace and stability in the Korean
Peninsula,” but did not explicitly condemn the
Border Relationship
North Korea provides a buffer between
China and democratic South Korea, which
is home to about 29,000 U.S. troops.
However, hundreds of thousands of North
Korean refugees spill across the 800-mile
border into China that the two nations
It is believed that China greatly fears a
regime collapse in North Korea that
would consequently create a huge influx
of refugees as a result from
unrecoverable chaos in North Korea.
UN Human Rights Report
Released in February 2014
UN investigators alleged systematic
torture, starvation, killings comparable
to Nazi-era atrocities, and other human
rights violations in North Korea.
The yearlong investigation involved
more than 320 witnesses in public
hearings and interviews from those
such as escapees and former prison
Accounts included alleged atrocities
such as a new mother being forced to
drown her newborn, rampant beatings,
and corpses being eaten by dogs and
Michael Kirby, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Human
Rights in North Korea, holds a copy of his report during a news
conference in 2014
Drawings by former North Korean prisioner Kim
Kwang-Il detailing torture methods
Warning: Graphic
Chinese Implication and Reaction
The UN investigators told China that it might
be “aiding and abetting crimes against
humanity” by sending migrants and defectors
back to North Korea to face torture or
China rebuked the report claiming that it was
“divorced from reality” and “highly
They cited the fact that UN investigators were
not able to get any first-hand evidence (this
was due to North Korea’s refusal to allow the
investigators into the country), and that the
fact that the UN was unable to get
cooperation from North Korea put the
credibility of the report into question.
However, China made no comment about
their veto capacity as a member of the UN
Security Council to potentially block
international interference on the matter.
China’s United Nations Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi
What might happen next?
The UN could propose stricter sanctions and even
physical intervention for North Korea.
However, China holds veto power as a permanent
member of the UN Security Council.
Historically, such heinous human rights violations
warrant multilateral international intervention, but
the situation in this region of the world is likely too
sensitive for any serious action from external
political actors.
China may be tired of North Korean’s staunch
neorealism, nuclear brinkmanship, and their
provocative behavior, but their relationship is
believed to be too important to Beijing because of
the geopolitical advantage it provides.
There is even speculation that China has response
protocols that would include dispatching troops to
occupy North Korea if the country were to become
Works Cited
Balibouse, Denis. “China rejects U.N. criticism in North Korea report,
no comment on veto.” Feb. 18, 2014. Reuters U.S. Web. Accessed
Euronews. “China slams “inaccurate” UN human rights report on North
Korea.” Mar. 17, 2014. Web. Accessed 4/20/14.
Park, Madison. “China, North Korea slam UN human rights report as
‘divorced from reality.’ Mar. 18, 2014. CNN. Web. Accessed 4/20/14.
Patience, Martin. “China’s muted response to North Korea
Attack.” Nov. 24, 2010. BBC News. Web. Accessed 4/22/2014.
Xu, Beina and Bajoria, Jayshree. “The China-North Korea
Relationship.” Feb. 18, 2014. Council on Foreign Relations. Web.
Accessed 4/21/2014.

similar documents