The East-West Center Research Program will sponsor a lunch-time brown-bag discussion by POSCO Visiting Fellow
Kevin Gray Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Gray’s topic is “Sino-North Korean Relations and China’s Northeastern Development Strategy.” The program will take place from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall room 3012.
Sino-North Korean relations may seem puzzling in that while China seeks to increase its influence in global economic and political governance, it nevertheless continues to pursue a strategy of engagement with North Korea despite increasingly stringent UN-mandated sanctions.
Analyses of China’s policy often neglect the ongoing multi-faceted transformation of the Chinese state since the late 1970s along with the profound rescaling of political authority in China, the diversification of public and private actors involved in relations with North Korea, and the multiple and often contradictory goals that those actors pursue. Also neglected is the question how the rescaling and decentralization of political and economic governance has exacerbated China’s uneven development and has raised issues of potential social unrest in China’s northeast.
China’s regional development projects, which have emphasized North Korea’s role as “geographical fix” to the relatively isolated provinces of the northeast have become an increasingly important vector in Sino-North Korean relations.
Gray will argue that in comparison to China’s ideological commitment to the country or its perceived utility in China’s increasingly tense standoff with the United States and its allies in Northeast Asia, more attention needs to be paid to regional development efforts in shaping the substance of China’s relations with North Korea. At the same time, he contends, relations between the two countries have become increasingly amorphous and ridden with contradictions and are, as a result, irreducible to any single geopolitical logic.
About Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray is a reader in international relations at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom. He researches North Korean development, Chinese-North Korean relations, and East Asian political economy more broadly. He is the author of Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation (Routledge, 2008), Labour and Development in East Asia: Social Forces and Passive Revolution (Routledge, 2015); People Power in an Era of Global Crisis: Rebellion, Resistance, and Liberation, with Barry K. Gills (Routledge, 2012); and Rising Powers and the Future of Global Governance, with Craig N. Murphy (Routledge, 2013).