North Korea Tweets, June 8-20, 2012

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North Korea / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations

Twitter is an amazing resource, but is difficult to archive and use long-term.  In view of experimentation, a very limited archive of North Korea Tweets from @adamcathcart is here laid out.

Generally speaking, the commentary and links concern the output of North Korean (and occasionally Chinese) state media.  If 12% of this material is tangibly useful, then we’re doing far better than the rest of the Internet.  Feedback is welcome.

JUNE 20 ‪

New film on youth of #KimJongIl: “revolutionary party…giving a steady continuity to the Juche blood.”

Allegations of NK backline troops on 4/15 wearing Chinese castoffs responded to

@benjaminkatzeff @chosonexchange Assuming paucity of on-site inspections by DPRK leaders into S. Hwanghae stems from a fear of association

Global Times pretty up front about PRC crackdown on “illegal activities like Koran teaching” in #Xinjiang

@chosonexchange ROK Foreign Ministry asserts North Korean food shortages not as bad as imagined (Yonhap)

@chosonexchange Different view on this question in S. Hwanghae in Chosun Ilbo

Kim Jong Un is some hybrid between Jesus, Hirohito and Kim Il Song. In this kid’s eyes, anyway.

Fascinating look by Danish scholar: How a North Korean children’s book talks about the Great Famine/Arduous March #soas

The next time someone goes on about NKorean “human rights violations,” just remind them of this magical blue box!

DPRK officially shoring up #KimJongUn’s age problem by focusing again on #KimJongIl’s brilliant 20s #age

China Defense Times noted ROK bluster that #SKorea could win a conventional war with #NK in 90 hours flat. #Rodong:

“Patriotic Breeder,” Rodong Sinmun, June 18, 2012.

“Merry Laughter All Over” at the Pyongyang Zoo; horses fairly emaciated. DPRK-Hannover trade needs to increase.

Xinhua headline “North Korean Eat 5 Meals a Day” nets no result. What’s a reporter to do? Keep an eye on 张利 in Pyongyang – next stop, Paris.

Xinhua sends reporters to Pyongyang explicitly to regurgitate #NKorean child-talking points; precisely zero (0) reverb in DPRK media.

“Legacy” strategy of #NK Workers’ Party: constant undifferentiated bliz of triple-Kim nostalgia, Volk will relent to #KimJongUn as mother.

Perpetual newsroom question in #Pyongyang: to crop or not to crop the looming dark mass of Ryugong Hotel?


Pyongyangites may be wondering why the statue of their founding father was melted down, shrunk, given a necktie, glasses and a rictus.

Perfect example of choreographed gratitude families are supposed to feel for a free trip and a little box from Pyongyang


Finally, Children’s Union clears the square, allowing Pyongyang university students to proclaim their festering pride

Children’s Union members return home with ubiquitous blue boxes; they are as inexhaustible as children’s fiction


Another beautifully surreal picture within a picture from Pyongyang. #Rodong #KimJongIl #youth #succession #1964

#Rodong on the Kim Jong Il celebration. (Pics & 한굴 text.) Kim Ki Nam is the leading speaker and ideological mind



Huge meeting of #NKorean bureaucrats to further cement Kim Jong Il’s nuclear legacy. FYI: they’re not disarming

#NKorea turns the dial to 11 yet again with an accusation of South Korea inviting a “war holocaust”

Buried in this orthodox cannon-blast is a complaint about China pressuring #NKorea at US behest #sinonk

Massive US-ROK sea drills about to start. Why is Rodong Sinmun cautioning against siren song of US “peace ballad”?

Korean socialism is so bipolar: sometimes a strong class-orientation, but today it’s all about culture

Perhaps there is no need this time, but the “discovery” of Koguryo tombs in the past has been linked to succession #koguryo

North Korea now proclaiming Kim Jong Il era as “Renaissance of 20th Century” arts


Priorities: DPRK Premier finally in drought-affected areas; everyone else studying 1964 succession arcana in Pyongyang

Keeping up with Kim Yong Il in Myanmar, DPRK trying to make up lost ground



#DPRK provides justification for horrible rictus of new Kim statues: dead leaders pleased at new apt. quarter

Youthful North Korea blah blah blah: clear reminders the state is overseen by 85-year-olds


Official North Korean rebuff of the Secretary of State, who failed to praise #NK children’s festival


‏‪Surprisingly unvenomous KCNA item summarizes Vietnamese investigations of Agent Orange use, “1961-71”



KCNA hagiography 101: When out of Korea, long for it, compose songs about pines, hate American bombers, play organ.


DPRK Sea of Blood Troupe in Shandong; my previous speculation that all tickets were giveaways is dead wrong

Another indication that Workers’ Party finds it smarter to detach the two dead Kims so as not to smear the founder

Choson Exchange ‏‪@chosonexchange

Chinese media are talking about ‘investment wives’ being promoted in #northkorea.


#NK iconographers backtracking on incessant pairing of Kim Il Sung with his vinylon-clad offspring

Leader/nukes convergence in DPRK: “The DPRK emerged a dignified nuclear weapons state and satellite launcher.”

‏‪Several “Arduous March” evocations in #NK media this spring, as if to say, “We survived that, why not this?” #famine


朝鲜式的和谐社会: “harmonious whole of leader, party, army and people serves as a fundamental cornerstone of the DPRK”

Dictatorship, sure, but artists who cooperate in Pyongyang are being handsomely rewarded #unhasu


Nice: #NK Foreign Ministry statement comes on anniversary of 1866 attack on USS Sherman near Pyongyang

Children’s Union festivities are the answer to any challenge to NKorea: “How could you possibly criticize us?”


Here is the official version of Sunday’s DPRK Foreign Ministry statement/response to Sec. Clinton

More official concert reviews of KPA Band in Russian Far East: audiences chanting for all 3 (mostly dead) Kims

Bullhorn economy: NK Railway Bureau workers mobilize in brown around some scrap metal (pic)

Confucius Institute animation: U.S. Korean War “broke out,” no mention Chinese invasion of Seoul HT @imagethief

State Dept. speechwriters: try noting instead how many new Mansudae apt. blocs it would take to house NK’s gulag population.

State Department once again shows total inability to hurt NK w/ “gulags/hunger/nukes” triumverate HT @profLind

May 21 Q & A with 李开盛 Li Kaisheng, unknown academic re: #NK-China boat hostages still on #Huanqiu front page,

Analyst Yang Xiyu tells #Huanqiu he sees “really big changes” in #NK under #KimJongUn, more outward looking

Mycal Ford ‏‪@StandtoTruth

political nostalgia, Kissinger meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao:

Fragmented future of news? Click on a Tweet for French election results, get a page of aggregated Tweets. Hydra.

NBC’s Richard Engel voyages to #NKorea, meets students who are unaware of Facebook. The horror!


Had missed this 30 May Rodong Sinmun injunction for officials to, well, stay awake.  James Church later said it was in fact a big deal. #creative #totalitarianism


“Hyperpoliticization of daily life”: N. Ireland reconciliation efforts could be useful for Korean unification experts


NK’s stance re: comfort women issue isn’t purely historical. The assertion is that denial = preparation for re-invasion

Die Welt revisits #KimJongIl funeral, asserts crowd went out of control in SW Pyongyang, Romanian errinnerung


Rodong Sinmun phrase “decendants of those victimized” same term as used for “decendants of Kim Il Song” #KimJongUn



@melnik0v Kim Ki Nam led a big architectural symposium perhaps a month ago, not sure if designer info was buried in all the KJI sycophancy


DPRK remains a cultural font even if disparu: See: East Germany. “Si n’avait pas existé, il aurait fallu l’inventer.”

So many NKoreans must be working hard to gain expertise, somehow are able to tolerate this ugly schmaltz


Consider that DPRK built a huge dam in Huichon so that Xinhua could compare Pyongyang to Shanghai #distortion

#Rodong article opens up the possibility of Japanese intervention in #DPRK post-Paektu volcano explosion


Interesting feature in anti-NATO coverage is the “statement by US movie star,” signs of NK int’lism


DPRK brought recent group of foreign entrepreneurs to North Hwanghae farmers market, one lonely Chinese face

I found another North Korean tunnel; this one is newly constructed near Mangyongdae —


Rare look at some of North Korea’s Showa-era architecture, of course the object is to venerate Kim Il Song


This week’s #Rodong commentary titles as Scandanavian heavy metal album song titles cc: @torrauden @electricviking


Impossible to keep track of all the back dating, but #DPRK still sensitive to age: now commemorating Kim Jong Il age 22


Possibility for minor unrest in Pyongyang when certain elites unable to grapple up to these new apartments. Still empty

#Rodong 6/16: “His balderdash about reform and opening is nothing but a malicious scream let out from the frustration of his absurd dream”

More essentially ridiculous DPRK attacks on “Lee and his janissaries” in the human rights hell of South Korea

God knows why #Rodong takes a month to report on NATO-protest red meat in Chicago, but here it is, angry vets and all

At least domestically, DPRK is still promoting notion that they’ve got a friend in Myanmar


#Rodong: “We have our own strategy and tactics […] to make our country rich and strong.”

It appears that no one is living yet in those beautifully lit new apartment blocks in the home of the NK revolution




Normally a Scriabinesque Poem of Extasy, #Rodong photo of #KimJongUn’s new rehash-treatise discussion oddly deflating

‏On the one hand, these are TEL missile trucks. On the other hand, China is selling a lot of vehicles to DPRK.


Neat graphic of China’s space trajectory; plan by 2020 is to have 60-ton permanent space station 中文

Forthcoming Routledge book on “De-Bordering Korea,” Koen de Custer, ed.


Minju Chosun praises Germany for its “liquidation” of World War II guilt

Norwegian artist has ability to hook you up with North Korean cultural bureaucrats


At a safe remove, Koreans in Uzbekistan call for more inter-Korean cultural exchange

Is there a point at which the novelty of KimJongUn’s blunt approximation of grandpa’s avuncular glad-handing wears off?

North Korean tech delegation to China. (micro item)



Apparently there were Black Panthers living in Pyongyang in 1969-70. Would make for an interesting Holly/Bollywood script, and history.

Spent some time this morning reading German 1942-43 press re: Hirohito, horribly derivative, but useful for critiquing B.R. Myers #gorgon

Embarrassed? Rodong Sinmun’s Mansudae photos this week shying away from gruesome double-rictus statues

“North Korea 2012: We Move Dirt” (pic)

Student returns to Sinuiju from capitol, moved to write poems, family can’t see Dandong skyscrapers through the tears.


Half-right: North Korean denunciation of capitalism asserts US has national university system, is tuition driven. #国立大学


#Rodong Sinmun’s Chinese can be scandalously sloppy (金=全), but when they denounce capitalism it’s pitch perfect #胡作非为

Finally, a #Rodong story about youth who arrive in blasted Man’po on PRC border by train, not jet (Chinese)

BR Myers’ “infantilized” #NK people fits: Week of orgiastic Kim worship by youth, modelling absorptive doctrine

More proto-environmentalism for NK youth (pic)

“Rodong Shinmun in Full Flow” Daily NK: Excellent, but no mention of how LATE young Kim is in his theoretical cribbing

Do you think Leon Panetta keeps a picture of General MacArthur in his wallet?

re: NK prodigy piano pedagogue Kim Hyong-suk 김향숙/金香淑, teaching for 23 years, impressive (Chinese)



New “written treatise” by Kim Jong Un is a rehash of the historical orthodoxy, more political commissar for KPA role

Recommended #DPRK business practice for UK/Swiss: “bring a gift” for Kim Jong Un even if he gives it to KPA.

How nice of them to care. North Korean media critiques South Korean restrictions on internet.

Renewed critiques of Western youth on drugs in Rodong Sinmun

Everybody mocks the #NK “FunFairs” but the point is that they are all being taken over by the KPA

Hankoryeh: “we have to accept the inconvenient truth that relations with Tokyo will be a Sisyphean struggle”

U.S. Embassy Seoul ‏‪@usembassyseoul

Amb. King discusses North Korean prison camps, defectors & human rights activists in his interview with the Dong-A Ilbo

Chinese news media, this week: in-depth reexaminations of US nuclear threats toward PRC-DPRK in 1950-51

DPRK pianist Han Su-nae 한시내 performed revolutionary concerto for Children’s Union members; she plays on a Steinway

Even “robotic” North Korean child-performers have nurturing teachers; the state is just an interface

About 100 foreign insurance salesmen in Pyongyang for a conference, includes Chinese





Nothing says “human rights” like promises of food safety, huckster academics, a Vice Chairman and six microphones

@limlouisa analysis of NK hijacking of Chinese fishermen, audio will be available at 9 am EST! #PublicOpinion #China

@nknewsorg interviews Chinese-Korean businessman in DPRK, who says a Chongjin SEZ could be on the way

Good recap by Evan Ramstad of growing official interest in #KimJongUn’s mother


Off-kilter North Korean “questionnaire” threatens to out #ROK leaders for donating to “holy sites of revolution”


Orthodox by definition, Rodong Sinmun is now trumpeting environmentalism as a feature of the #NK youth movement

Bill Gertz ‏@BillGertz

U.S., S. Korea reach accord on extending missile range. Pact opens sale of long-range drones. Could impact nuke balance

NKorean child attends conference, brings home pamphlets, bag of rice. Family, living in photo studio, is overjoyed.


Some bracing video of #ROK air force blowing things up in an “impromptu” drill (French, Korean) via @lemondefr

Re: “rising Chinese nationalism” trope. Consider: 100+ more netizen comments on a Pyongyang maternity story than this

Group of female #PeoplesDaily reporters in Pyongyang for 5 days shadowed by group of female #RodongSinmun writers

Huanqiu Shibao with some pics and backhand mockery of “North Korean-style hamburger” on Air Koryo

Beijing People’s Daily piece sings the praises of North Korea’s free health care, maternity hospitals

Beijing People’s Daily delegation of female reporters re: Pyongyang festival: “kids eat 5 meals a day”

KCNA: “Only when the Juche idea is comprehensively applied to #Kyrgyzstan, can a genuine people’s country appear there”

North Korean state media again explicitly refutes idea of preparations for third nuclear test

SK “seeks to rattle the nerves of the DPRK in a bid to cause it to conduct a nuclear test, though such a thing is not under plan at present”

DPRK: Get ready for another 100 years of Kim family rule!

(Presently Juche 101=64th year of Kim rule.)

It’s horribly hackneyed, but #DPRK children’s propaganda functions as a means of binding rural areas to capitol

This would appear to be a barnacled North Korean justification for more foreign contacts

All this junk about Kim Jong Il’s great sacrifice for posterity was telegraphed in the drama sector a year ago


KCNA rebuts defector issue by asserting that more than 500,000 ROK citizens “defected”; more threats at #SK press

Quite an interesting fact that the first #DPRK assertion of #KimJongUn as feminist is made by a Chinese guest

Election game-changer MT @adamcathcart North Korean op-ed on #Romney’s “gay” dog with “loose vowels” #Obama #2012 #dprk

Even Eunsun Kim, the most recent refugee celebre author, says she misses these kind of #NK group activities (camping)

The problem with the Kim Il Song system of gathering loyal youth bodyguards is that one needs a steady supply of war orphans to make it work

Is health care in the #NK provinces that bad? Some youth delegates to Pyongyang have operations while in the capitol

KPA General Ri Yong Ho attends #Unhasu Orchestra children’s concert Unhasu-KPA relationships are strong.

@adamcathcart The purpose being to inflect again DPRK’s northern border as a dream-site, terra revolutionaria, natural zone of Kim-worship.

Wherein children from #NKorean-China border region bring kgs of honey and sprigs to Pyongyang tombs #tribute

“Swarming Thieves,” “Disturbers of Peace.” Weekly selection of #Rodong commentaries as heavy metal album song titles

#NKorean media: “U.S. is the only country that has secret prisons like Nazi’s concentration camps” #humanrights

North Korean op-ed re: #Romney’s “gay” dog with “loose vowels” #Rodong #dog #Obama #2012 #animalrights #dprk

#Rodong: “There can be neither complacency nor standstill in the work of bringing up the rising generations.”

Buried within this belligerent Rodong Sinmun essay, #DPRK appears to abjure third #nuclear test


#NK Teachers: The purpose of studying the Korean War is to inclucate into kids an imperative to “protect #KimJongUn”

Hankyoreh Newspaper ‏@HankyorehNews

Kim Jong-un speeches sing a subtly tune on economy: By Kim Young-hwan, Incheon correspondent in Dandong Jin Zhe,…

When in doubt, express #KimJongUn-dominated content of your subconscious dream life.


Chilling: #KimJongUn asks kid: “What’s your favorite ride at the FunFair?” Kid: “Free Fall.”

#KimJongUn’s “unexpected speeches” are like GWBush’s “secret trips” to Iraq: if he didn’t make them, something would be deeply wrong.

Finally, a KCNA write-up of #KimJongUn speech reaction which is not entirely strident or hallucinogenic

Have yet to see a cogent essay re: #NK children’s fete. This suggests it is purely about building #KimJongUn prestige.

SEZ law is explained; then, on same day, KCNA quotes Sinuiju teacher on eternal battle vs. “class enemies”

North Korea releases more legal details about SEZs near #Sinuiju – why now?

#NKorea pinning its #Olympic hopes on women’s football, weightlifting, and wrestling. Just under 50 atheletes total.

Mirroring demographic of defectors, about 2/3 of DPRK’s Olympic delegation are women

In which #NKorean elite youth from provinces talk to statues & consider a meal of meat to be absolutely remarkable.

@markmackinnon on “a noteworthy week for despot-watching” in Beijing; too bad #KimJongUn was too busy shoring up his youth ‘vote’ to attend

Mark MacKinnon/马凯 ‏@markmackinnon

With Putin, Hu, Ahmedinejad, Nazarbayev and Karimov in Beijing, it’s time to come up with better words than “dictator”:

Via typical ventriloquism, KCNA is still voicing injustice of int’l condemnation of #NK’s 4/13 #missile launch

Wonder: what kind of divides will manifest in this #NK generation of haves and have-nots? #songbun

Children’s Union fete: a strong reminder of the importance of songs in consolidating regime themes in #NK

China’s emphasis to DPRK on building province-province relations is already manifesting in NK-Russian Amur ties

环球人物 no. 184 has interviews w. two important fisheries officials, very curious use of “country X” to describe disputes

Small but interesting new layer in #NK succession propaganda: #KoreanWar = support of generations of Kims

North Korean media starting to make a habit of “overhearing” pro-regime student conversations.

“Meet at #KISU”

#NK Youth Festival propaganda revives and attributes to #KimJongIl an important slogan re: opening up to world


8 Jun Blake Hounshell ‏@blakehounshell

North Korea offended by comparison to Nazi Germany via @adamcathcart

New song lyrics in Pyongyang youth stadium jumble all the Kims together, followed by pic of “not-Hitler Youth” salute

#NKorean historians preparing shadow patriotic narratives around #KimJongUn’s other, Japanese-affiliated, grandpa

Persistent KCNA campaign to get Pak Gyun Hye to “come clean” on her father’s past would appear to postdate #KimJongUn Japanese revelations

KCNA’s junk editorial reveals official anger at #SKorean news about marketization of #NK society Chinese news also has!

Elite #NK kids likely have cell phones or iPads, but they are reduced to marveling at #Rodong Sinmun like it’s 1946.

Example over misuses of pliable history in #NKorea. Korean War museum kid visits now lead to vows to protect #KimJongUn

@blakehounshell “You accuse us of being fanatics following a maniac; the very accusation makes us want to suicide in battle for the man.”

@blakehounshell #NK also failed point out that Hitler didn’t have the benefit of hereditary succession (original link)

Interesting evocation of (false) hopes for an “Arab Spring,” Pyongyang edition in this KCNA slash-out more #Hitler

Chinese gov. not so diff. from #NKorean: anything short of “hailing celebrations envied and admired by the world” is “vituperation” KCNA 6/5

KCNA: To evoke #HitlerYouth in #NKorea is so wrong that NK youth all now demand vengeance and would die to get it.

First item in quite a while in KCNA extolling economic #NKorea- #Libya ties

Smack amid #boathostage situation on May 20, DPRK sent a delegate to Beijing to meet re: Japan’s history

DPRK youth orgs: #NKorean prosperity is on the way in spite of “the pernicious blockade of the imperialists”

Chinese functionary runs ritual circuit in Pyongyang, meets Chae TaeBok, says nice things about the city, KCNA conveys.

The Author

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


  1. James_C says

    Sorry but you really need to get a life… take some time off korea. maybe try going there. collecting your tweets here in a blog post is really the most pathetic thing i’ve ever seen in my internet life

    • Nice!!!!! I love it. Was just in Korea, in fact, so not to worry my friend, some % of these will end up as footnotes in an academic paper which end up bolstering grant applications, which facilitate meetings, which lead to further interesting life experiences. In the meantime, hope you found something on KCNA to keep you entertained in your internet life — it’s quite a distinction to have been designated as part of such — so, thanks for the comment!

  2. Who did the translations? What is your take on all of this? Do you think any reflections of the average citizen will be visible in Social Media anytime soon?

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