China's policy toward the Korean Peninsula from 1978 to 2000
The Korean peninsula is crucial to China's political, economic and security interests because of a combination of geographic, historical, and political circumstances. China’s economic reforms and the end of the Cold War both provided new challenges and opportunities for Northeast Asian politics. This thesis will trace the shift in the policy of the People's Republic of China toward the Korean peninsula, and the resulting shift of primacy from North Korea to South Korea, as well as from political-military security to economic development. Yet this shift was not complete. The thesis will show how China has successfully maintained relations with both North and South Korea in what can be called a "double strategy" of ideological relations with the North and economic relations with the South. The two hypotheses of my research are: 1) China's economic reform policy was the most decisive factor which made China change from a "One Korea" policy to a "Two Koreas" policy, and 2) to maximize its national interest China has deftly used the "double strategy" to keep its traditional geo-strategic and military ties with North Korea, even as it has vigorously furthered new geo-political and economic ties with South Korea. The diplomatic history of Sino-Korean relations from 1978 to 2000 will be explored through an analysis of the empirical data of primary and secondary sources taken from documents, newspapers and academic texts.