China/North Korea – ‘Lips and Teeth’: The Enduring China-North Korea Relationship (The Jamestown Foundation)

Pratik Jakhar

The leaders of China and North Korea marked the 60th anniversary of the China-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (Peking Review, July 11, 1961) on July 11, and pledged to renew the treaty for another 20 years (UPI, July 7). “Despite the unprecedentedly complicated international situation in recent years the comradely trust and militant friendship between the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and China get stronger day by day,” North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un said in his message to Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a reference to the U.S., he also highlighted that the “hostile forces become more desperate in their challenge and obstructive moves” (Rodong Sinmun, July 11). Although many aspects of the notoriously opaque China-North Korea relationship are difficult to judge, the fluctuating bilateral ties recently appear to be on a firmer footing, driven by an alignment of interests, growing tensions with the U.S., and an increased emphasis on shared ideological roots.

‘Lips and Teeth’: The Enduring China-North Korea Relationship – Jamestown