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The North Korean Factor in the Sino-Russian Alliance
Region: Asia
Theme: Security
Published July 29, 2019
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The Kim-Putin summit in April 2019 and the abortive Trump-Kim summit in February 2019 compel us to review Korean issues from the regional security standpoint, rather than primarily as a proliferation question. Despite apparent failure of the Trump-Kim summit, the search for denuclearization and peace in Korea will continue. North Korea is obviously resuming discussions with Russia and China to decide their future course of action, inasmuch as Kim went to Vladivostok. The summit with Putin in April only reinforced those considerations, as it is clear from the subsequent press conference that Kim asked Putin to transmit his views to Washington and that Putin agreed to do so. Likewise, Washington must rethink its approach. Instead of emphasizing denuclearization, Washington would likely benefit from viewing Korean issues primarily as regional security questions. Certainly, Russia and China do so. Therefore, rethinking Russo-Chinese ties to North Korea offers valuable insights in the quest for a lasting Korean peace, especially as Russia and China have become allies.5 The argument of a Sino-Russian alliance is admittedly a minority view among scholars, but the mounting evidence of their alliance is apparent not only in regard to Korea—as the other chapters in this collection show—but in larger military-political affairs as well.

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