Sanctions, Shedding Tears, and New Developments in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Recent KCNA Coverage on China
KCNA File No. 9, 5 February 2012-11 February 2012
by Evan Koepfler
KCNA focused more attention on China this week, with a total of ten stories published. Compared to past weeks, this may seem like a moderate increase, but with the multitude of stories published by KCNA this week in general—at least 30 per day—China, once again, was largely left by the wayside.
Several of the stories this week focused on China and its reactions to events on the international stage. Of these, KCNA reported again on China’s fierce defense of Iran, condemning sanctions and stating that only dialog and cooperation will resolve the issue. What makes this story different than the others from past weeks is that Premier Wen Jiabao himself, as opposed to various Foreign Ministry spokesmen, delivered the message during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. We can see that China is paying more attention to the issue, even strategically using more influential members of government to get the message across. Furthermore, the Chinese Foreign Ministry this week also rejected the United States’ accusation that China infiltrated the US computer network. FM Spokesman Liu Weimin said that such claims were groundless accusations and that the United States should “abandon its Cold War way of thinking.” This story is another example of increased Sino-American tensions, and illustrates that China will squash any such rumor as quickly as possible in order to save face on the world stage. Finally, China’s Foreign Ministry also busied itself this week by refuting a claim that a Chinese naval warship strayed off course when it passed between Okinawa and Miyako Island. China said that this maneuver was part of its right to practice naval exercises in the Western Pacific Ocean, an area, which according to international law, is free to use.
Another important story discussed by KCNA this week was the growing momentum to reconcile differences and unify the Korean Peninsula. This week, Koreans in China were reportedly heard calling for support of this movement and said that “putting…common interests above all other things” was of the utmost importance. With stories such as these, we see the DPRK trying to forge a new path under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, thus moving into an era of increased cooperation and participation both in Asia and in the world abroad.
Two stories were published this week which dealt with remembrances for Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung in China. These stories make clear that the DPRK remains focused on the remembrance and glorification of its leaders, and respects—or merely conflates—the tribute paid to them by foreign powers.
An additional two stories this week centered on DPRK operas which have recently “moved Chinese audiences to tears.” Stories such as these attest to the growing popularity of DPRK arts in China, which—as the two countries expand mutual cooperation—will be an important means of cultural communication.
Finally, KCNA published details on the continued construction of an expressway in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.