It’s a fairly unusual day at the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang when they have to emphasize that a large delegation of Chinese leaders are leaving the country.
Pyongyang, November 26 (KCNA) — Col. General Liang Guanglie, minister of National Defense who doubles as a state councilor of the People’s Republic of China, flew back home Thursday.
Leaving with him were Col. General Huang Xianzhong, political commissar of the Shenyang Military Area of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Lieu. General Feng Zhaoju, deputy commander of the Jinan Military Area, Vice Admiral Xu Hongmeng, deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Area and commander of the East Sea Fleet of the Navy, Lieu. General Jiang Jianzeng, deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Area and commander of the Air Force of the area, Maj. General Chai Shaoliang, organizational director of the General Political Department of the CPLA, Maj. General Wang Jin, vice-director of the Operation Department of the General Staff, Maj. General Jia Xiaoning, deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, and other suite members.
Do you suppose they’re worried about rumors that Chinese are taking over the place?
The fact that KCNA was so quick on the draw with this news — “they’re leaving! seriously!” — and that North Korean propaganda releases are usually about two days behind Xinhua and the press releases of the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang (which as yet has said nothing about the departure of the Defense Minister from the capitol) indicates perhaps a bit of North Korean nervousness.
Or maybe I’ve just been reading a bit too much of The Book of Corrections and am wrong to imagine that the appearance of Chinese military command supremacy over Korean troops rubs North Korean observers the wrong way, kind of like a hand wrapped in duct tape moving up a cat’s spine.
Screams at South Korea about sadaejuui, or “flunkeyism,” can be quickly turned against the North Koreans and the traditional target of “submission to the great,” China. Anti-Chinese sentiment in North Korea is a very, very real phenomenon, ranging from fear of absorption by Chinese companies to contempt for Chinese disorder. Mix all this in with nervousness over the degree of Chinese influence in the successor generation, and you’ve got some combustible themes in the North Korean body politic.
At least the relevant folks have had some relevant conversations about securing the border, although these meetings didn’t seem to get much press in North Korea: