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Little Fatty Kim
North Korea and China’s Deteriorating Relationship
North Korea is often called China’s only friend, but analysts have long known that alliances aside, neither country is in fact all that fond of the other. A new report from the FT highlighting just how much Pyongyang and Beijing can’t stand each other makes for some fun reading:
In official rhetoric, America is always “our sworn enemy”, Japan is the “thrice-cursed imperialist nation” that occupied the country for 50 years and South Korea is an evil puppet regime. But when people spit this vitriol they often seem to be going through the motions. With China, however, the insults were more spontaneous and the depth of feeling obvious.

In China itself, North Korea is seen as an embarrassing joke — a starving Stalinist anachronism that reminds many of life under the totalitarianism that China abandoned in the late 1970s.

Any time North Korea acts out, it’s bad news for Beijing. Since Pyongyang became more belligerent earlier this year, South Korea and Japan have stopped responding to China’s friendly noises. Instead, they’re working more closely with each other and with Washington. Given how much North Korea frustrates China’s grander foreign policy efforts, it makes sense that Beijing would be getting annoyed.
So how hostile are the Chinese, really? This juicy bit from the FT should give an idea:
However, in a country so dominated by the cult of personality, it is probably the personal that matters most. Mr Kim is popularly referred to in China as “little fatty Kim” and even seasoned Chinese diplomats cannot hide their disdain for a man that ordinary North Koreans are required to revere as a god.

It’s really an insightful article into a very important relationship. You should take a couple minutes to read the whole thing.

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