A Realist Study of the North Korea-China Alliance

Rasmus Duus Hedengran & Alexander Schmidt Kondrup

Studenteropgave: Fagmodulprojekt


The aim of this project was to investigate the nature of the China-North Korea alliance in light of recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. The project found this issue relevant to examine, as this relationship is often identified as being a key factor in shaping the current conflict.
The research was centered around the foundations of the alliance and how it has changed to this day. This framework was made possible through the use of Stephen Walt’s balance of threat and alliance formation contribution to IR theory. This approach was facilitated through the use of qualitative content analysis an investigation of the origins of the China-North Korea alliance and served as a foundation for the analysis of the changes the relationship has undertaken to this day and how these changes impact the current conflict.
The project found that North Korea has structured its current strategy around the perception of the U.S. as an existential threat to the existence of the current regime. The use of Walt’s five hypotheses of alliance formation found that the China-North Korea alliance has drifted away from the foundation on which it was built due to changes in perception of interests and threats and that the alliance therefore remains as one of convenience and not strength.
The project finally concluded that due to these changes in alliance factors, one should be careful to overestimate the influence of China on current North Korean strategic behaviour.

UddannelserInternationale Studier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2017
Antal sider34
VejledereLaust Schouenborg