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Chinese President Xi Jinping waits for the arrival of a guest at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 29. Xi hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier in May.   © Reuters
China up close

Beijing sees 2018 as watershed year reminiscent of 1989

North Korea's nuclear program sparked by fallout from Tiananmen crackdown

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

TOKYO -- The crackdown by the Chinese People's Liberation Army 29 years ago today against student protesters was one of a series of historic events in 1989 that transformed global politics. But the tanks that crushed the democratic uprising at Beijing's Tiananmen Square also spurred changes in the relationship between China and North Korea that echo loudly in 2018.

Struggling under heavy international sanctions imposed after Tiananmen, China embarked on economic reforms to break the impasse. One piece of this puzzle involved normalizing diplomatic relations in 1992 with South Korea, the bustling economy across the Yellow Sea.

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