chapter  7
25 Pages

China and the future of the Korean Peninsula

Since the end of the Cold War, China (the People’s Republic of China; PRC) and

North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; DPRK), two of the

four remaining socialist countries in the world, have encountered remarkable shifts

in mainstream perceptions in the West, particularly in the United States, of what

the future now holds for them. On the one hand, the perception of China as a

pariah and disintegrating state on a Soviet-style declining trajectory in the early

post-Tiananmen years has been replaced by the “rise of China” chorus. No longer

viewed as a pariah state, China, with the world’s fastest growing economy, is now

considered to be a rapidly rising power, catalyzing the debate about how well the

post-Cold War international system can accommodate another up-and-coming

superpower. At least in the United States, we are continually being told that China

poses the world’s most serious challenge in the transition from the Cold War to a

post-Cold War era.