Author: Adam Cathcart

Browbeatings: A Readout on the Recent Politburo Meeting in Pyongyang

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North Korea

A recent meeting in Pyongyang got a great deal of attention, for mostly the wrong reasons. New media upstart Vox led its North Korea coverage for the week with what could be charitably described as a juvenile taunt.   But of course Vox was hardly alone. The Guardian strained Kim Jong-un’s image through a battery of references to Kid ’n Play/Christopher Raeburn/MAN/ Marc Jacobs’s SS15 and ‘the current alt-fashion vogue in womenswear for bleached eyebrows’ (bonus points if you know what […]

Strung Out: Fencing and Security on the Chinese-Korean Frontier

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Borderlands / North Korean border region / Sino-North Korean relations
Adam Cathcart on the Chinese side of the Tumen River south of Hoeryong (North Hamgyong province, DPRK), photo by Chuck Kraus

Q.: Have you heard anything about how extensive the fencing is along the North Korea-China border? A.: Ishimaru Jiro of AsiaPress travels the Tumen Valley extensively. This past summer in a trip there with a Deutsche Welle camera crew, he noted that some additional fencing had gone up along one relatively active crossing point.  However, this is not to be taken as gospel that it’s being done along the length of the Tumen River frontier. The […]

It Takes a Nation of Slogans

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North Korea / Propaganda
NK slogans 5 Feb 2015

North Korea may be economically poor but it is surely rich with slogans. Some three hundred were recently published in the country.  Private advertising is still very much circumscribed, and further given the fact that rolling power blackouts that occur in virtually every area outside of the capital, slogans, songs, and posters remain key means of delivering ideological content in North Korea. Kim Jong-il spent much of his life trying to perfect unreformable genres which […]

Footsteps: Kim Jong-un and the Possibility of Indonesia in April 2015

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Is Kim Jong-un going to Indonesia / Is Kim Jong-un's sister in power / Kim Jong-il in Indonesia / Kim Jong-un in Bandung / Kim Jong-un in Jakarta / Kim Jong-un indonesia / North Korea and the Third World / North Korea-Indonesia relations
Rodong Flight 1-01[1]

Picking up on South Korean government sources, the Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times) in Beijing reports that Kim Jong-un may be taking his first foreign trip as head of state this coming April.  More information about the conference, which in part appears to be anniversary celebration of the famous Bandung Conference of 1955, is here (in English), and a reasonably decent breakdown of the story (also in English) was published a few hours ago by a Russian […]

Hong Kong in Anglo-Chinese Relations, 1945-, Recommended Reading

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Chinese foreign policy / Chinese nationalism / U.S.-China Relations
photo by Adam Cathcart

James T. H. Tang, “From Empire Defence to Imperial Retreat: Britain’s Postwar China Policy and the Decolonization of Hong Kong,” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (May, 1994), pp. 317-337. Chi-kwan Mark, The ‘Problem of People': British Colonials, Cold War Powers, and the Chinese Refugees in Hong Kong, 1949-62, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 41, No. 6, 2007, p. 1145-81. Ming K. Chan and John D. Young, Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842-1992 […]

Does North Korea Have Two Rulers? Visions of the Female General

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history and memory / North Korean border region
A North Korean slogan tree near Rason, KCTV, August 2014.

In a Reuters dispatch published today, James Pearson uses multiple perspectives to reflect on Kim Jong-un’s 8 January birthday in North Korea. In the end, it appears that the ostensible 32nd birthday of the young ruler was not marked by a major state propaganda push, nor did North Korean workers even get the day off.  Indeed, there were no huge parades held, nor even any new songs published in praise of Kim Jong-un. The closest we might […]