The Chinese government developed close diplomatic relations with North Korea after the Chinese Communist Party formed the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Since 1961, the two countries have been allied by the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, which was renewed in 1981, and again in 2001. It’s set to last until 2021.
Over 60% of North Korea’s exports and imports are traded with China. Benefits for China include:
- A buffer zone against U.S troops in South Korea.
- Prevention of refugees entering China by keeping North Korea going.
The relationship has seemed strained at times, for example when North Korea performed nuclear tests in 2013. But with two communist regimes neighboring each other, their similar goals mean that they’re mostly supportive of each others’ actions.