Sino-North Korean Links for July 26, 2010

Korean War Monument, Missoula, Montana -- photograph by Adam Cathcart

Note: I’m breaking slightly from my previously-announced fortnight blogging hiatus to try something new: a sort of collection of links on North Korea and Sino-North Korean relations which attempts to combine the advantages of Twitter while removing the fragmentary nature of that platform. (You can subscribe to my Twitter feed here.)  I certainly intend to continue with the production of monumental blocks of prose that you may have come to expect here, but feedback on format and utility of the following entry would be welcome.

North Korean Bluster

National Defense Commission is in the driver’s seat in Pyongyang with another explicit nuclear threat http://tinyurl.com/25qmf66

Pyongyang alleges US is openly talking about “preemptive nuclear strike” on North Korea http://tinyurl.com/33qzn9w

The Cheonan effect: war preparations centralize power in the Nat’l Defense Commission//NK much directly threatens nuclear retaliation for US-ROK drill in this Minju Chosun op-ed http://tinyurl.com/2eecj3z

China’s Huanqiu Shibao puts out a long article headlining that US-South Korea joint exercises are “the largest since 1976″ and that “statements by both U.S. and North Korea are growing increasingly fierce” [美韩34年来最大规模军演今开幕 美朝互递狠话]

Closing thought: What would the summer of 2010 have looked like in the DPRK absent the Cheonan incident and resultant war ramp-up?  Conversations on currency failures, grain shortages, unproven new leadership, Kim Jong Il’s precarious health, need for market reforms, disbelief that 2012 will see “strong and prosperous nation,” nostalgia for Kim Il Sung.  To use a completely unjustified metaphor, it’s like asking what Japanese domestic/military politics would have been like in 1934 absent the Manchurian Incident.  Once you let the torpedo out of the tube (or drain the troops into Liaoning province), there’s no going back.

Circuses and Opera for Kim Jong Il

Disquieting June 24 KCNA headline combo: “NK Determined to Maintain Nuclear Deterrent; Kim Jong Il Enjoys Circus” http://tinyurl.com/2cpg5d9

Pyongyang Circus performs for Chairman Kim; he holds forth on _juggling technology_. http://tinyurl.com/29urzcg

Someone else has got to be running the store: Kim Jong Il still obsessed with Tchaikovsky http://tinyurl.com/22tsrtt

KNCA piece on the Pyongyang Circus feels definitive: Kim Jong Il is not exercising any kind of day-to-day control over the Workers’ Party.

Borderlands Update

Report that China is leasing & renovating port space in Chongjin, DPRK http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&num=6627

N. Hamgyong strategy: “Recruit Women as Officials instead of Incompetent Men” http://goodfriendsusa.blogspot.com/2010_07_01_archive.html

North Koreans get more succession propaganda via discussion of Kim Il Sung’s “newly discovered” remarks on tree carvings http://tinyurl.com/27czqqn

Flooding is serious in North Pyong’an province http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2010/201007/news23

Hyesan homicide by hungry NK man linked to resentment of nouveau riche http://tinyurl.com/23f4or7 (English) http://tinyurl.com/2dtsjz5 (中文)

Report from scene of Chinese oil spill in Dalian asserts that North Korea is concerned about environmental impacts http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/07/first-details-on-china-oil-spills-cause-emerge/

Last performance of North Korean opera in Dalian http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2010/201007/news20/20100720-05ee.html

Huanqiu Shibao/Global Times Features

A huge and multi-featured webpage rolling out the red carpet for the North Korean port of Rajin  http://tinyurl.com/29bmlpo

Coverage, but not necessarily support, for North Korea’s announcement of possible “nuclear holy war [核圣战]” against the U.S. http://world.huanqiu.com/roll/2010-07/957765.html

A photo gallery of images taken by tourists in North Korea http://travel.huanqiu.com/picture/2010-07/957958.html

Parting thought: War clouds over North Korea might dampen enthusiasm for some international travelers, but Huanqiu Shibao isn’t at all shy about promoting travel to the DPRK.

"See North Korea's Fine Changes in Rajin; Excitement of 5000 Chinese Businessmen There to Move Forward"

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks, JR, and I appreciate your earlier link as well on the whole “blogs are dead” discussion. (I also recognized upon reflection on another comment response I left that “nexte Mal” is better than “nexte Zeit,” but what the hell.) The anti-Japanese aspects of the North Korean propaganda machine are always pretty well-oiled, but it’s an element of the domestic equation in the DPRK (and a hidden kind of congruity that the North has with the Chinese public) which often is left out of our “Western media perspective.”

    US compromises by moving naval exercises to East Sea = answer is to rev up anxiety over Japan’s ambitions in the East Sea!

    Le Figaro had a short piece about Japanese naval observers watching the US/ROK exercises which I had not seen anywhere else:

    http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2010/07/23/97001-20100723FILWWW00327-mer-de-chineenvoi-d-officiers-japonais.php

    BTW, I’m dropping the full text of your link into this comment, as these texts have a way occasionally of inconveniently disappearing!

    天津北方网讯:朝鲜《劳动新闻》26日发表评论称,日本不仅在六方会谈中无所作为,还故意逃避责任,给会谈制造障碍,因此日本没有资格参加六方会谈。

      评论批评日本外相冈田克也日前在记者招待会上就重启六方会谈表现出的消极态度,指责日本对“天安”号事件说三道四。评论认为日本这样做的目的是破坏六方会谈,阻碍朝鲜半岛无核化进程,从而坐收渔翁之利。

      评论说,条件成熟时,无论日本如何阻挠,六方会谈都会进行。举行六方会谈的根本目的在于实现朝鲜半岛的无核化,因此会谈应讨论有关解决这一问题的各种方案,以及各方履行自己义务的方式。然而,日本总是纠缠一些无关的议题,给会谈增添复杂性。

      评论还再次明确提醒日本,“天安”号事件完全是美国和韩国操作的反朝阴谋产物。日本没有插手该问题解决的资格。

    Herzlichen Dank!

  2. I’ve seen some coverage of the Japanese observers in the Chinese-language press from China, and on the BBC’s Chinese website, but not elsewhere. Btw, a number of authors with the VoA, China Daily, and foreignpolicy.com suggest that later in this series of maneuvers, the Yellow Sea will become a venue – Zhai Dequan (翟德泉), deputy secretary general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, among them.

  3. I have found plenty of fascinating info on this page, I have made some notes on some of the more interesting stuff I hadn’t seen before. I think there’s also a whole bunch more about this on Wikipedia, and and at this geekier info site so check that out too. This is one of my guilty pleasures and I’m really interested in learning similar things so if any of you might be bothered enough to add comments on this issue that would be too kind.

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