Anchorwomen, Tanks, and Other Symbols
– Martyn Williams has a tremendous illustrated run-down of the unprecedented Korean Central TV-China Central TV collaboration during the Spring Festival; Xinhua reporter Zhang Li — who was the first Chinese reporter in Pyongyang on television about 15 minutes after the announcement of Kim’s death — strikes again in conversation with her distinguished North Korean counterpart, Ri Chun Hui. A short translation of the interview with Ri is available at The Political Cartel (East Asia) blog.
– Very few analyses of the Kim Jong Un birthday video montage, including our own, were really satisfactory, but International Crisis Group expert Daniel Pinkston puts a stop to all that with an essential and thick description of the 105th Armor Division and what Kim Jong Un’s appearance with that group truly entails.
– Michael Rank, using Cathcart’s summation of an expansive Chinese magazine article as a jumping off point, delves with some depth on Asia Times Online into the rise of the North Korean princelings.
– Michael Madden at NK Leadership Watch has an excellent summation of the recent Sino-DPRK opera diplomacy, with photos. Yang Hyong Sop, who helped smooth the way with the Chinese for the acceptance of the Kim Jong Il succession in the early 1980s, has been the seniormost face of the DPRK leadership in these interactions, regulating China’s reemergence among the ruling circles in Pyongyang.
– Jonathan D. Pollack‘s recent book No Exit is taken apart and reconstructed in a very helpful NBR roundtable, Huanqiu Shibao releases a short TV report on Kim Jong Un’s frisky hands, and — glory be! — Good Friends North Korea has broken the backlog and released six new reports, putting them now only about two weeks their enviable normal pace.
– King of the Northeastern Chinese think tank intellectuals Lv Chao has a happily-titled China Daily op-ed entitled “Good Tidings from DPRK” which hardly reveals much new, but does indicate China’s public confidence that with enough good-neighborliness and modelling, North Korea will inevitably take something resembling the Chinese path.
– The Rodong Sinmun Korean-language website is a vast upgrade from the old KCNA standby (which certainly still has its uses and needs to be read). However, the sheer volume of the daily output challenges the reader, not to mention the sheer repetition of the familiar themes. A few stories this past week seemed, however, to merit noting: a passing denunciation of “multi-party” trends in some African states, accelerated timber production in the north, a push to extract more coal, a revival of the year 1980 in the service of reminding folks how succession is supposed to work, and an audacious exhortation to “tell the 5th generation” of the glories of the Kim family. Also worthy of mention was Rodong Sinmun’s extended discussion of a Foreign Policy article by Zbignew Bzezinski, all of which may come in for further discussion here via Steven Denny, a highly energetic young analyst based at Yonsei University.
– And, should nostalgia for the Kim Jong Il era be creeping in to anyone’s fragile psyche, this last compilation of photos from the December 16 Rodong Sinmun might fill the void. The subject appears to be the Dear Leader‘s penultimate on-site inspection — fittingly, of a musically-related tech firm.