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Peace and Security in Northeast Asia Policy Brief  No.7 - March, 2018

US-North Korea Nuclear Summit: Assessing China's Exclusion Anxiety

This paper explores China’s relationship with North Korea. In particular it focuses attention on China’s leverage in relation to the DPRK’s nuclear and missile development programme. The recent announcement of direct talks between the leaders of North Korea and the United States on these and other issues creates both opportunities and concerns for China. On the one hand China has expressed support for a positive outcome. On the other, these talks reinforce Chinese anxieties about being excluded from the discussions and the detrimental consequences of this exclusion. This anxiety comes on top of a generalised concern about either a conventional or nuclear war on China’s border. This article explores these dilemmas as China ponders its role in Korean and wider East Asian affairs.