New era for China-North Korea ties sealed in blood
Beijing: Six decades after treating traumatised Chinese soldiers from the battlefields of Korea, psychiatrist Xue Chongcheng remains convinced their sacrifices -- which forged bonds between Beijing and Pyongyang in blood and fire -- were essential.
But the ties are tarnishing under the passage of time and generational change, with China rising to the forefront of global economics and geopolitics while frustration grows with a frequently troublesome nuclear neighbour, say analysts and ordinary Chinese.
China sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the Korean peninsula, the infamous "human waves" that turned the tide early in the 1950-53 conflict, sending United Nations forces led by American General Douglas MacArthur retreating southward after they had pushed invading North Korean troops almost back to the Chinese border.
The total number of Chinese deaths remains a point of contention among historians. Western estimates commonly cite a figure of 400,000, while Chinese sources appear to have settled in recent years on a toll of about 180,000.