Preparing for North Korea’s authoritarian breakdown


If the regime of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was to collapse, whether from internal problems or external force, one of the most pressing problems facing the United States, China, and South Korea—as well as one of the most promising avenues for cooperation—would be how to respond to the resulting humanitarian crisis, according to Joonbum Bae and Andrew Natsios.

There is a level of inherent unpredictability to the timing of authoritarian breakdown, and signs point to Beijing taking the prospect seriously when it comes to North Korea, they write for Foreign Affairs:

The Financial Times and The New York Times both reported in early December that the Chinese government is constructing refugee camps along the border with North Korea, anticipating a crisis that would lead to mass population movements.  In his speech at the Atlantic Council on December 12, Tillerson also confirmed that the Chinese were preparing for a regime collapse, indicating that “the Chinese concern is about a mass flow of refugees across the border in the event of a regime collapse” and revealing that “China is taking steps to prepare for such an eventuality.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email