China and North Korea

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China and North Korea have had a good relationship in the past which has helped one another to become quite prosperous with trade and economically, creating a good quality of life to their citizens. While North Korea seems to have leaned on China’s trades more so than the other way around, Chin has still been able to increase their own prosperity and become a superpower throughout the world. There has been much contention lately between the two countries and their stance on trade and the economy and what they want from each other. These problems have led to action as China is resorting to different tactics to achieve the outcomes they want from the problems and increasing tensions between North Korea and their rise in power as well. It is said that China is either losing patience with North Korea or their actions that they have been doing is just reasons that are tactical to benefit China in the long run, no matter what the reasons for the change in relationship between the two countries, there much more tension being caused from the actions of both of the countries (Albert). China’s threatening bans on trade with North Korea is affecting the economy of North Korea by decreasing their trade in billions of dollars, affecting their nuclear tests and ambitions, as well as the well-being of the citizens in the country. China has been the most important ally and the biggest trading country with North Korea and China is the main source of food and energy for North Korea which has helped Kim Jong-un’s government and helped his regime (Ser).

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As China has knowledge of this they have the power to use this to their advantage when they need to regulate some of the affairs that have been going on in North Korea that they do not agree with or that worries them that may cause some future problems with their own ability to maintain power. North Korea has recently been pursing advances in their nuclear weapons development. Over the past few years North Korea has been testing different nuclear weapons that they can try to become a threat to other nations (Global Times). China has been in contact with others in the international community and they have all been in agreeance with each other that North Korea needs to be punished for their nuclear ambitions and their development that could cause future problems needs to be stopped before they get worse (Ser). To maintain control and power over North Korea’s ambitions and rising problems with their nuclear activity China has been threating bans on trades with the country and have on some goods gone through with suspending trade that North Korea would be negatively affected by. One example is that China has suspended their coal trade with North Korea starting in February of this year and has lasted to the end of the year. This has increased the effectiveness of the UN and China’s desires to regulated and control the developments of the rising problem in North Korea. There has been also threats on the banning of oil exports to North Korea as well later in the year that would even further inhibit the ability for North Korea to pursue its nuclear ambitions (Albert).

All of these regulations, suspensions, threatening of trade with North Korea has had a huge impact on the country in many ways. A major effect from these political and social problems has been effecting the economy in a major way. China has been the most important country for North Korea to trade with for over a decade. The trade between the countries has grown tenfold in the past ten years (Ser). Because of the relationship between the two countries in the past few years, both countries have prospered greatly and been able to benefit in their economies. North Korea especially has been able to prosper compared to what it has been in the past. North Korea’s economy has increased in 6.37 billion dollars from the years 2000 to 2014. And just in the past few years it has been drastically dropping more that it had been rising. From 2014 to 2015 the economy had dropped from 6.86 billion dollars to 5.42 billion dollars (Ser). These economic effects are largely due to the changes in the relationships that had been occurring between North Korea and China and the bans and regulations that China has put on their trade to maintain their dominance and control over the country over the past three or four years. One of the main reasons for the regulations on trade with North Korea as was mentioned earlier was the stop to the ambitions of the nuclear developments and pursuits of North Korea. North Korea has dangerously made known their ambitions and desires to become a leading superpower with nuclear weapons to become a threat which has raised alarm with the UN and China.

As they have become increasingly aware of the ambitions of North Korea, China’s bans and suspensions of trade have greatly impacted the progress of these nuclear activities (Albert). Even though the bans on coal or threats of bans of necessary resources such as oil to North Korea have been effecting the progress of the countries further pursuits into nuclear weapon development, the Chinese government is asking to not push North Korea too far as it could cause a collapse in the regime and would result in dangerous military action from North Korea. So even though China wants to regulate and control some of the ambitions of North Korea to further their nuclear weaponry, they have to be careful not to create a dangerous chain reaction (Global Times). They have been able to regulate development and progress to some degree, but if they try any harder or push any more, it could cause dangerous consequences. Along with many other affects that come from the restrictions on trading between China and North Korea, one of the major problems that has risen from the event is the welfare and the well-being of the citizens of North Korea (Albert). There have been bans on necessary resources such as the coal ban that have affected more than just the desired government or political targets.

The people of North Korea have a need for these resources, as it has been mentioned that China is the main trading partner with North Korea, they are the main source of their food and energy. If China continues to put bans and restrictions on the goods that they export to North Korea, they may end up affecting many of the lives of those people who need and rely on those goods and services of food and energy that come from trade with China (Albert). China has already banned coal which has caused problems with the people and if China continues to go through with further bans and suspensions of these goods, such as oil, they may end up causing more problems than they had intentionally thought would happen. It has been reported that up to 60 percent of the population or about 15 million people in the country of North Korea do not have a reliable source to food that they can provide for themselves or their families (Ser). If China is the main source for their food, and they are already struggling as it is, threatening to take away more resources has a great impact on the decisions that North Korea makes. There are many affects and outcomes that have and will occur with the trade bans and threats of suspending trade between China and North Korea, many have already occurred with the evens and bans that had already taken place that had greatly impacted North Korea in a number of different ways. There will be many more affects that may not only impact North Korea or China, but may impact the rest of the world if there continues to be regulations that China and other countries set forth with North Korea. There are many outcomes and decisions that North Korea can make based of the events that occur that may play into China’s plan to further dominance or could dangerously take a turn for the worst as they could cause a nuclear war between the two countries if not more that may get involved. The UN, China, and the rest of the world need to be aware and on edge with the progress and ambitions of North Korea, they need to be prepared and careful of further interactions that may cause unwanted actions.

Works Cited

  1. Global Times Is North Korea nuclear crisis reaching a showdown? https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1041998.shtml
  2. Ser, Kuang North Korea’s trade with China has grown tenfold in 15 years which gives China more leverage than ever https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-02-15/north-koreas-trade-china-has-grown-tenfold-15-years-which-gives-china-more
  3. Albert, Eleanor The China-North Korea Relationship https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/china-north-korea-relationship
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China and North Korea. (2020, Mar 10). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from
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