Thunderclouds Over the Honeymoon: Xi, Kim, and the Trump Summit

Amid the welter of diplomatic moves that have occurred in and around the Korean peninsula in 2018, the two meetings in quick succession between the North Korean leader and China’s eternally-consolidating leader, Xi Jinping, have been one of the more curious elements. After a six-year hiatus from meeting foreign leaders at all, Kim’s mode of turning so suddenly back to China was indeed extraordinary. The … Continue reading Thunderclouds Over the Honeymoon: Xi, Kim, and the Trump Summit

Walls as Multivalent Icons in Early People’s Republican Cartoons, 1946-1951

The rise and ultimate victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese civil war, and Mao’s galvanizing intervention into the Korean War, was accompanied and supported by a wave of cultural propaganda that depicted the CCP as the strongest defenders and representatives of the Chinese nation. This paper looks at an array of cartoons from the late 1940s and early 50s to argue that … Continue reading Walls as Multivalent Icons in Early People’s Republican Cartoons, 1946-1951

Reflections on the History of Chinese-North Korean Relations, and US-DPRK Relations Today

Sometimes we need to modify the questions we ask. The question “Is the Chinese Communist Party going to cut off North Korea?” results in a fairly predictable string of analyses — usually adding up to an answer of “no.” Perhaps we might be better off by shifting perspectives, asking “To what extent does the regime in Pyongyang trust its counterpart in Beijing?” Such a question … Continue reading Reflections on the History of Chinese-North Korean Relations, and US-DPRK Relations Today

Recent Op-eds and Media Work

The last three weeks have been particularly intense for analysts of North Korea, China, and Sino-North Korean relations. Amid the struggle to get two of my normal scholarly research articles submitted, I was able to get the following work published, some of which may be of interest to readers of this blog. ‘China, North Korea going through rough patch but break-up not on the horizon‘ (published … Continue reading Recent Op-eds and Media Work

Border Consolidation in Liaoning: From Chen Yun to Xi Jinping

For presentation at Leiden University lecture series “Borders: Life on the Edge of Area Studies“, 28 February 2017: For the Chinese Communist Party, the northeastern province of Liaoning today inhabits an odd position on the “One Belt, One Road” strategic line. Stuck with a recalcitrant North Korean neighbour, the CCP is endeavouring to revive the regional economy by reaching beyond various fundamental North Korean blockages … Continue reading Border Consolidation in Liaoning: From Chen Yun to Xi Jinping

Revisiting Mao’s Role in the ‘Three-Anti’ Campaign

If there is one thing that appears certain about contemporary China and Chinese historical studies, it is that Mao’s role in sparking and sustaining violence during the period of his rule (1949-1976) will invariably provoke controversy and contention. On this blog, we have  previously delved into Mao’s interactions with the ultra-hardline Tao Zhu in Guangxi in the early 1950s, and made reference to Frank Dikotter’s … Continue reading Revisiting Mao’s Role in the ‘Three-Anti’ Campaign