The Relationship between China and North Korea after Trump-Kim Summit: A Realist's Perspective

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This year, the United States talked with North Korea in Singapore. In the first summit between the leaders of the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), they signed a joint statement, agreeing to security guarantees for North Korea, new peaceful relations, reaffirmation of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, recovery of soldiers’ remains, and follow-up negotiations between high-level officials.

I argue that the most important factor influencing the China-North Korea relationship in the future is the US-North Korea relationship development after the Trump-Kim summit. China's influence over North Korea may decline following the improvement in the US-North Korea relationship. In order to avoid being marginalized, China will seek a diplomatic solution that would preserve China's influence and interests in stability on the peninsula. Therefore, China is bound to improve the relationship with Kim Jong-un. The most feasible way is to have China and North Korea work together to promote reform and opening up that is restricted within a small scale that will not challenge the legitimacy of North Korea's leader or its regime.

Keywords: Trump-Kim Summit, North Korea, China-North Korea Relationship, Korean Peninsula Affairs, Northeast Asia Security
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-60
JournalProspect Journal
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Trump-Kim Summit
  • North Korea
  • China-North Korea Relationship
  • Korean Peninsula Affairs, Northeast Asia Security


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