pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

PacNet #11 – Chinese Debates on North Korea

In recent years, issues pertaining to North Korea have been hotly debated by Chinese institute researchers. The publication of conflicting views in authoritative media suggests that these debates are sanctioned by the Chinese leadership. At critical junctures in the six-party negotiations, Chinese leaders may see value in the publication of an article advocating greater pressure on Pyongyang or urging the United States to show greater flexibility. It is also possible that the publication of differing views by Chinese scholars reflects differences at higher levels regarding assessments of North Korea or Chinese policy toward Pyongyang. Tracking debates in China on North Korea is therefore important to identify potential fissures at the top and impending shifts in Chinese policy.