The Evolution of the Lips and Teeth Relationship: China-North Korea Relations in the 1960s

  • Cheng Xiaohe
Part of the International Relations and Comparisons in Northeast Asia book series (IRCNA)


After fighting a war shoulder to shoulder against the United States-led United Nations (UN) forces in the Korean War, China and North Korea forged a comrade-plus-brother relationship. This relationship was soon tested as China and the Soviet Union, the two leading actors in the communist camp, turned against each other and engaged in a prolonged ideological polemic. The Sino-Soviet split not only reshaped the global geopolitical landscape, but also had a profound impact on the international communist movement. The socialist camp crumbled and member states, including North Korea, were forced to take sides.


Korean Peninsula Communist Party Chinese Communist Party Chinese Leader Political Division 
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© Carla P. Freeman 2015

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  • Cheng Xiaohe

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