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China and North Korea: Regional economic cooperation

July 2013

China and North Korea share a border. Both governed by socialist politics, they cooperate with one another politically and economically to create an important alliance in Northeast Asia

China and North Korea: Regional economic cooperation

This international relationship once involved China providing one-sided economic support to North Korea. But, since 2000, the relationship has shifted towards more mutual cooperation. This has been reflected by the fact the relationship is now driven more by economic interests, and not just by political alliances.

The 21st century relationship between North Korea and China has developed partly as a result of China’s increasing investment in and trade with North Korea, as well as being due to shared regional development strategies in Northeast Asia.


AQA – A-Level unit 3, human option (Development and globalisation) An original take on the ‘Trade versus aid’ debate

Edexcel – A-Level unit 3, topic 4 (Superpower futures) An example of how a BRIC is having increasing regional influence

OCR – A-Level unit F763, option B2 (Globalisation) An example of how trade and aid can influence levels of development

WJEC – A-level unit G3, section A (Development) Raises questions about different strategies used to reduce the development gap

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This article focuses on three ways in which China-North Korea relations are being strengthened:

  • Trade
  • Investment
  • Transborder infrastructure.

This summary is based on research by Seung-Hyun Yoon and Seung-Ook Lee.

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