With international attention focused on a potential U.S.-North Korea summit meeting in May, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise trip to Beijing in late March to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The North Korean leader’s visit to Beijing, his first foreign visit since assuming power in late 2011, came amid strained bilateral relations in recent years. Kim and Xi appear to have reinvigorated the historical bonds between the two countries and reaffirmed China’s crucial role in the future of the Korean Peninsula. This conference explored the dynamics and tensions of the historical relationship between China and North Korea, the potential impact of Korean reunification on China, and China’s role in a limited military conflict and its aftermath. 

8:30 am - 9:00 am: Registration and Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:15 am: Welcome

Speakers

Nancy Lindborg
President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Thomas Banchoff
Vice President for Global Engagement, Georgetown University

Panel 1, 9:15am - 10:30am
China and North Korea Relations

This panel examined the historical China-North Korea relationship, changes in political and security relations, and role of past and present economic ties on the future of the bilateral relationship.

Panelists

  • Dennis Wilder, Moderator
    Managing Director, Initiative for US-China Dialogue on Global Issues; Assistant Professor of Practice, Asian Studies Program, Georgetown University
    @dennisw5
  • Stella Xu
    Associate Professor of History, Roanoke College
  • Yafeng Xia
    Professor of History, Long Island University Brooklyn
  • Junsheng Wang
    Visiting Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council
    Director and Associate Professor, Department of China’s Regional Strategy, National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China 


BREAK


Panel 2, 10:45am - 12:00pm
Would a Reunified Korea under South Korean Leadership be Positive or Negative for China?

This panel assessed China’s position on the ideal end state for the Korean Peninsula and whether a reunified peninsula under South Korean leadership would be beneficial or detrimental to Chinese economic, political, and security interests given South Korean, Japanese and U.S. likely responses. 

Panelists

  • Frank AumModerator
    Senior Expert on North Korea, U.S. Institute of Peace
    @frankaum1
  • Yun Sun 
    Co-Director, East Asia Program; Director, China Program, Stimson Center
  • Heung-Kyu Kim 
    Director and Professor of Political Science, China Policy Institute, Ajou University, South Korea 
  • Michael Green
    Chair in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy and Director of Asian Studies, Georgetown University
    Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies 
    @JapanChair


Lunch Keynote Address, 12:15pm - 1:45pm

Speakers

  • Ambassador Mark LippertKeynote Speaker
    Current member of the Board of Trustees at the Asia Foundation and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea.
    @mwlippert
  • Oriana Skylar Mastro, Moderator
    Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Georgetown University
    Jeanne Kirkpatrick Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
    @osmastro


BREAK


Panel 3, 2:00pm - 3:15pm
War and its Aftermath on the Korean Peninsula – What Role Could China Play?

This panel discussed the contours of a potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula, to include U.S. operations, how China may respond, and opportunities for cooperation. Participants will also examine Beijing’s role in shaping the post-war situation on the peninsula.  

Panelists


Review the conversation throughout the day on Twitter with the hashtag #ChinaGUUSIP.

This conference was cosponsored by the Georgetown Center for Security Studies and the United States Institute of Peace, and made possible in part by the generosity of the Bilden Asian Security Studies Fund.

Related Publications

China-Venezuela Relations in the Twenty-First Century: From Overconfidence to Uncertainty

China-Venezuela Relations in the Twenty-First Century: From Overconfidence to Uncertainty

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

By: Matt Ferchen

The outsized ambitions and scale of the China-Venezuela political and financial relationship in the twenty-first century have meant that its failures and disappointments have been correspondingly large. This report explores how the nations came to be involved, how each side has responded to Venezuela’s extended economic and political crisis, and the implications for the future of the bilateral relationship and for China’s aspirations to be a leader and agent of international development.

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Patricia M. Kim; Vikram J. Singh

After a deadly skirmish in June and shots fired in September, Sino-Indian tensions have escalated to a level not seen in decades. Both countries’ foreign ministers recently agreed to a five-point framework to manage the situation, showing both sides want tensions to plateau rather than deteriorate further. But the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will not easily go back to a well-managed bilateral irritant—right now, it’s a dangerous flashpoint and likely to stay that way. USIP’s Vikram Singh and Patricia Kim look at the recent discussions, what’s driving the escalation, how the conflict affects the region, and what history can tell us about how it might be resolved.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

The Dangers of Myanmar’s Ungoverned Casino Cities

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

As a struggling, incomplete democracy, Myanmar and its elected leaders face challenges that would confound any country. The best-known involve the military’s uneven loosening of a 50-year dictatorship; ethnic tensions and armed conflicts; the lack of a common national identity; entrenched poverty; and the complications of borders with five nations, including China. Less well known is an emerging threat that touches each of these vital concerns. Over the past three years, transnational networks with links to organized crime have partnered with local armed groups, carving out autonomous enclaves and building so-called “smart cities” to tap into the huge, but illegal, Chinese online gambling market. Myanmar’s leaders at every level and in every sector should pay serious attention to the alarming national implications of these developments.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Democracy & Governance

Myanmar: Casino Cities Run on Blockchain Threaten Nation’s Sovereignty

Myanmar: Casino Cities Run on Blockchain Threaten Nation’s Sovereignty

Thursday, July 30, 2020

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

On January 20, a young venture capitalist named Douglas Gan sat down in a Philippine television studio to discuss, in part, an exciting new “Smart City” project his firm had become involved in. Sporting a black hoodie over a white tee-shirt, Gan described how one of his companies, Building Cities Beyond Blockchain, was already at work in Myanmar’s Yatai New City, recording instantaneous property transfers and showing the potential of blockchain technology. It’s a start, the anchor said. Gan agreed.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

View All Publications