Russia comes between Kim Jong-un and Chinese patron

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is the object of a Russian charm offensive (photo: dpa)
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is the object of a Russian charm offensive (photo: dpa)

North Korea is one of the least familiar and most notorious countries in the world, existing for decades behind its ideological principle of juche – ‘self-sufficiency’. Yet geopolitical patterns are shifting, threatening a change in East Asia’s strategic balance. GIS guest expert Cameron Frecklington looks behind the creaking facade of Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom, and at how its increasingly strained relationship with China could be further undermined by nascent overtures from Russia.

FROM the beginnings of Korean civilisation, the peninsula and its inhabitants have been intertwined with their giant neighbour China. This ever-evolving relationship has been difficul...

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