Author: Adam Cathcart

Hungry Soldiers, Bloodshed on the Tumen: Sources [Updated]

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Borderlands / Sino-North Korean relations

[Update: An much-expanded version of this post, including a full translation of a Chinese editorial about the matter, was published yesterday at Sino-NK.] On the morning of 27 December, a North Korean soldier reportedly left his post in North Hamgyong province, walked across the frozen Tumen river into a small village in the PRC’s Helong county, and proceeded to shoot and kill four civilians before being wounded and apprehended by Chinese border guards. If you haven’t been […]

Samantha Power at the Security Council, and North Korea’s ‘Sham Report’ on Human Rights (Part 3 of 3)

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China / North Korea / US-North Korea relations
China UN vote

While “The Interview” sideshow has in some ways become the main media event of the past weeks, the DPRK remains very much center stage at the United Nations. North Korean human rights were discussed last week in the UN Security Council and a vote to refer the country to the International Criminal Court, I believe, will be held next month. A huge amount of documentation has to be worked through in order to understand what […]

Powerless Harmonies: Cultural Diplomacy in French-North Korean Relations

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EU-East Asia relations / French / North Korea foreign relations
Jack Lang and Kim Yong Nam

In March 2012, an orchestra of North Korean musicians went to Paris to perform, an event which gave us a very good case study of looking at the DPRK’s soft power efforts. It also provided an example of cultural diplomacy between Europe and a country in East Asia dedicated, for the most part, to resisting exchanges that may not adhere to its ideological values. In the case of Unhasu, the exchange really came to nothing […]

Talks in Singapore

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from Singapore Museum of History

I will be in Singapore from 12-18 January, giving a number of talks at junior colleges, and culminating with a conference with my UK colleagues at the ‘Imagining Asia Symposium‘ at Nanyang Technological University (more about that later). Last year’s lecture tour of Singapore was extremely enjoyable and I’m looking forward to revisiting old friends, making new ones, and interacting with what are unfailingly motivated and academically high-achieving groups of students to talk about northeast […]

Xi Jinping’s Tripod: Updating the National Humiliation Narrative in Nanjing

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history and memory / Sino-Japanese Relations / World War II
Nanking 13 December CCTV image

This essay was originally published at the China Policy Institute Blog at the University of Nottingham on 15 December 2014, under the title ‘Xi Jinping’s Nanking Massacre Commemoration and China’s Anti-Japanese Calendar,’ and is republished here with permission.  2014 has been a banner year for the Chinese Communist Party’s politics of historical commemoration of the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). As the Party has faced a host of internal challenges to its legitimacy from within and […]

Commentary in the Financial Times

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history and memory / North Korea
Kim Jong-un at a concert in February 2012 for his father.

I published a op-ed in the pages of the Financial Times in London on Friday, 19 December, entitled ‘For North Korea there is nothing comic about killing off Kim': Hot-headed North Korean protests over disrespectful portrayals of their leaders are hardly a new phenomenon. In a world where even an online meme could be taken as a slight against its “supreme dignity”, even Pyongyang’s only formal ally, China, has been subject to censorship demands. So, to understand […]