‘Distorting and Speaking Ill of the Reality of the DPRK’: KCNA China File No. 4

By | January 19, 2012

The first week of January was a peculiar time in North Korea and for Sino-North Korean relations in particular.  Kim Jong Un emerged in full, leading up to his January 8 birthday close-up, doing on-site inspections, attending concerts of canatas praising Kim Jong Il with the old generals, generally coddling the military, and paying no […]

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop—Recent Activity on the Sino-DPRK border

By | January 19, 2012

As was discussed in-depth nearly precisely a year ago on One Free Korea, the North Korean border with China tends to be a place where memory goes to die.  That is to say, when it comes to news reports about the border, a tabula rasa among readers is commonly assumed.  Whenever the DPRK’s malignancy needs […]

Hostage Princes and Shadow Reformers: Kim Jong Nam

By | January 18, 2012

We recently learned that Kim Jong Nam [金正男], the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, had struck up a friendship with Japanese reporter, Yoji Komi [五味洋治], in the Beijing Capital Airport in 2004 and has corresponded with him frequently since by e-mail.  Recently, Kim instructed Yoji to collate all the materials, over 100 e-mails and […]

DPRK Nuclear Safety: China’s Paramount Concern on the Frontier?

By | January 14, 2012

Chico Harlan, the Washington Post correspondent in Seoul, spent some time this past November in a “nuclear ghost town” on the northeast coast of Japan. (A narrated video of his journey is available here, well worth the short advertisment that precedes it.)  On January 6, Harlan reported on how rumors in Seoul of a North […]

Historical Allegories and Revolutionary Credentials: Jang Song Taek

By | January 14, 2012

Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Taek, prevalent in the ongoing discussions about who is wielding power in North Korea, now appears to be building up something of the beginnings of a personality cult himself, or at least, has succeeded in having public recognition of his role in today’s DPRK.  The evidence for this assertion […]

Ambassador Liu Reappears, or, Why Opera Matters

By | January 13, 2012

It is a working assumption here at Sino-NK that the Chinese Embassy has been decidedly on “the outs” with the North Korean leadership in the immediate aftermath of Kim Jong Il’s death.  The strife over the mysterious deaths of seven Chinese businessmen/tourists in late November 2011, along with the Embassy’s public implication that Kim’s death […]

China’s Naval Maneuvering in the Pacific

By | January 13, 2012

Midway through the first act of John Adam’s Nixon in China, the eponymous statesman enters into a rare lyricism to evoke the historical resonances of his journey to China, island-hopping across the Pacific via Hawaii and Guam: On our flight over from Shanghai the countryside Looked drab and grey… “We came in peace for all […]

Poetry from Pyongyang // 平壤诗歌

By | January 12, 2012

Rodong Sinmun yesterday carried a number of foreign language items, as well as a plug (in Korean) for foreign language education in the DPRK.  A positive sign? At the very least, an opportunity for two English-language students at Kim Il Sung University to get an important translation on their respective resumes of a collectively-composed poem, […]

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