The rescaling of the Chinese state and Sino-North Korean relations: beyond state-centrism

Gray, Kevin and Lee, Jong-Woon (2018) The rescaling of the Chinese state and Sino-North Korean relations: beyond state-centrism. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 48 (1). pp. 113-132. ISSN 0047-2336

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While Beijing has repeatedly signed up to multilateral sanctions against North Korea, it is widely regarded as having failed to strictly enforce those sanctions. Indeed, China's deepening economic engagement with the country has led observers to debate the causes of this seemingly duplicitous approach. Constructivist and realist approaches have relied on state-centric frameworks that serve to reduce Sino-North Korean relations to the high politics of Beijing-Pyongyang diplomacy in the context of broader geopolitical dynamics. We argue that such approaches pay insufficient attention to the profound rescaling of the Chinese state in recent years and the implications this process has for bilateral relations. We shed light on how Sino-North Korean relations are being driven by actors at multiple scales and by a multitude of objectives as a result of decentralisation and marketisation alongside increasing geographical unevenness within China and new challenges to continued capital accumulation. North Korea has come to play an increasingly important role in efforts to facilitate economic recovery in the northeastern border regions through serving as spatial fix for Chinese manufacturing capital. These new cross-border flows of capital and labour suggest an emerging pattern of Sino-North Korean relations that is by no means static but in considerable flux.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ0021 Asia > JQ1499 East Asia Including China, Japan, Korea
Depositing User: Kevin Gray
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 08:22
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 16:18

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