Monday Notations

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Chinese communist party / North Korea / North Korean border region

Chinese Central Television is reporting on the protests in Manhattan/New York and other American cities.

An essay by Chris Green in Seoul challenges the notion of “free markets” in North Korea and provides an illustration by Stephan Haggard of cross-border exchanges with China.

The Daily NK describes how life next door to China has driven up housing prices (and the weight of government decrees) in sprawling, visible Hyesan.

A short but feisty post by Graham Webster on the World Policy Blog argues that it’s useless to project some hope for reformist changes on to heir apparent Xi Jinping; I would add that the same holds true for Xi-ist (what is the parallel expression to “Dengist” or “Maoist” with reference to Xi anyway?) policy toward North Korea.  Of course the entire notion of strategic ambiguity or the prospect of possible change is of itself a kind of tactical card.

Readers needing a shot of idealism in combination with their Northeast Asian borderlands news need only look to London, where a 17-year-old painter has produced a rather lovely work which she will be auctioning off as an effort to “support the persecuted church in North Korea.”

Nicholas Eberstadt is fed up with North Korean intransigence and famine and argues (sharing a kind of fury with Victor Cha) for an “intrusive aid” approach in the DPRK.  I would only add that perhaps unmanned aerial drones (a topic that has sent North Korean newspapers into positive fits) might be used to drop grain into North Korea, but this would be beyond the pale.

Mainichi Daily News reports that several Hiroshima bombing survivors are currently living in North Korea, and that doctors may pay a special visit to the DPRK for health check ups on these individuals.

I’ve been doing my best to keep up with plans for musical exchanges with North Korea, but this article from the left-wing Seoul paper Hankoryeh gives a detailed sense of the outlook for inter-Korean orchestral exchanges.

By way of acknowledgement, my thanks goes to Chris Green for the comment which led me back to his Destination Pyongyang, and to Richard Horgan for the string of tweets which led to several excellent articles described above.

The Author

Lecturer of Chinese history at University of Leeds, and Editor-in-Chief of SinoNK.com.

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