“We Neither Glorify Nor Vilify North Korea” : Assorted Reads and Multimedia

By | January 06, 2012 | No Comments

[Updated, January 6]

With regard to Chinese contingency planning for a North Korean collapse, Stephan Haggard writes:

So what are the Chinese thinking? Reuters recently offered up a summary of the speculation. Although over two years old, the most comprehensive treatment we have seen is a study by Drew Thompson and Carla Freeman called “Flood Across the Border: China’s Disaster Relief Operations and Potential Response to a North Korean Refugee Crisis” for the SAIS Korea Program (pdf here). The purpose of the study is not to examine political crises, but to consider how the Chinese might respond to one particular externality: a flood of refugees. The report provides incredible detail on Chinese institutions by mining information on natural disaster planning. But one critical finding caught our eye and is worth quoting: “The political sensitivities that the Chinese place on their relationship with the DPRK and Chinese interests on the Korean Peninsula virtually assure that Chinese officials will seek to exclude the international community from any but the most superficial role in a crisis that unfolds in the border region.” Of course, this does not preclude coordination but underlines the challenges.

- Collapse scenarios have been rampant on the Chinese internet in the past few days, as Chico Harlan reports on the Washington Post blog;

- A Chinese article about the coup meme, fingering Chang Song Taek as the mover behind events, is as follows (full text as a precaution to it being scrubbed later):

“摄政王”或密谋朝鲜兵变?韩智库唯恐半岛不乱
2012年01月04日 18:57 已有46536人阅读

周三(4日),“朝鲜兵变、金正恩被神秘人控制”的传闻疯传网络。事实上,韩国智库在3日已经撰文分析了朝鲜政治动乱的可能性,称以朝鲜国防委员会副委员长张成泽为首的平壤权利核心层可能倒戈,密谋兵变。

张成泽

资料图:朝鲜“摄政王”张成泽

韩媒援引韩国统一研究院的分析称,在金正恩体制尚未站稳脚跟的情况下,朝鲜权力核心或担心匆忙且草率的权力世袭带来一些负面影响。张成泽派可能倒戈相向,挑战金正恩体制的权威。

该智库研究报告指出,在金正日的去世后,金正恩亟需解决的课题是分辨忠奸,并巩固自身实力。若进展顺利,在金正日70岁诞辰和金日成100岁诞辰之际,金正恩有望进一步推动其体系的稳定性。但由于种种原因,相比金正日的“独断”,金正恩可能正式启动劳动党集体的指导体系,依赖张成泽和金敬姬的辅佐。

在金正日葬礼期间,张成泽首次身着朝鲜军大将服装登场;而在殡葬行列中,他也站在了金正恩之后,这些都已经可以说明这位“首辅大臣”一人之下万人之上的超然地位。

这样一来,张成泽的角色定位,可能成为未来朝鲜局势动向的关键因素。外部观察员认为,目前摆在张成泽面前的有两条路:一是辅佐金正恩顺利接班,甘做二号人物。二是取代金正恩独揽大权。该智库预测,平壤权利核心层有可能对金正恩的接班世袭进行反戈并由此爆发政治性纷争。

自金正日猝然离世之后,朝鲜半岛局势一直牵动人心。期间,韩国曾表示不作出激怒朝鲜的举动,然而阻挠吊唁团赴朝等行为仍引发了朝鲜方面的不满。朝鲜政府此前曾声称,永不与李明博政府交往,并称李明博若不道歉将进行决战。如今,韩国智库这一具挑唆性质的臆测,令2012年半岛局势何去何从更加充满不确定性。

***

The title phrase, modified from an early post-Kim Jong Il editorial in Global Times;

An interesting micro-narrative item in Huanqiu Shibao with photos comparing Kim Jong Un’s handwriting with that of his scrawling, gregarious grandfather;

Scott Snyder’s December 27 “Kim Jong Un Survivability Scorecard“;

British North Korea scholar Owen Miller spots a Hello Kitty in the elite Pyongyang audience bowing to Kim Jong Il’s hearse;

and KCNA broadcasting profiles, in Korean, of some of the northern provincial secretaries at the last Party Congress in September 2010:

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