Student Panelist: Charles R. Kraus

Charles R. Kraus

Asian Studies/History, George Washington University

Panel II: Security and Strategy

Paper: “Mutual Dependency in Sino-North Korean Relations: Evidence from the Chinese Civil War and the Korean War” 


1. Please briefly introduce yourself.


My name is Charles Kraus, and I live with my wife in Washington, D.C. I am a graduate student at George Washington University and I work as a Program Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson Center. I am also Managing Editor of, a website focused on the contemporary and historical relationship between China and North Korea.



2. How did you get interested in your paper topic?


I spent part of a summer several years ago traveling down the entire length of the Chinese-North Korean border. This trip spurred my interest in Chinese-North Korean relations broadly, and I haven’t really been able to get away from the topic since. I eventually decided that I wanted to reassess the relationship between the Chinese and North Korean revolutions, and that is what I have tried to do in this paper.



3. What was your research process? Do you have a tip that you would like to share?


I began by reading the secondary literature on Chinese-North Korean relations from 1945-1953, and identifying the major personalities and events involved. Perhaps more importantly, I tried to get a sense of the types of questions being asked and the arguments being made by historians and political scientists. Secondly, I started collecting and reading documents and memoirs from Chinese and North Korean archives in order to develop my own ideas.



4. Do you have any advice for other students who may be interested in submitting a paper for next year’s SAIS Asia Conference?


Share your research with your professors, friends, and colleagues, and don’t be afraid of criticism! Peer-review is a crucial element of the research process and helps you to develop and improve your ideas and writing.



5. What is your plan after graduation?


I will begin a PhD program in history at George Washington University in the fall. I will keep working at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the meantime, but my long term plan is to seek out a teaching job at a college or university after I receive my PhD.



6. If you can ask a question to someone – either dead or alive – what would you ask to whom?


That’s a tough one. Maybe I’d ask Haruki Murakami how he develops his ideas for his books.


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