Students in Sinuiju, DPRK

The Daily NK reports that sightings of a few large boatloads of students in the large North Korean border city of Sinuiju are indications that the DPRK’s fuel shortages have abated, and that ferry service in Sinuiju (most likely to Uiju, upriver) is back in operation.  These are quite some photographs for anyone who has spent time in Dandong.  Normally it is the Chinese who pack the boats and stare joyously across the space:

Courtesy Daily NK, taken Sept. 18
Courtesy Daily NK, taken Sept. 18
Courtesy Daily NK
Courtesy Daily NK

This information, is, of course, open to anyone who reads the Daily NK, so nothing in particular about this post is special — yet!

This morning in a session at University of Washington-Tacoma’s library, which I have praised in the past, I dug up a new and recommendation-worthy text on North Korea.  It is:

Jae-cheon Lim, Kim Jong-Il’s Leadership of North Korea (Routledge, 2009); call # DS 935.5 L55 2009.

This thing is hot off the press, and it is well written, and based on a gang-load of Korean sources.  But don’t stop there, that’s not the most important thing!

Lim quotes a speech that Kim Jong-Il gave at Kim Il Song University for that institution’s 50th anniversary.  And since we love anniversaries, and we love long speeches by communist officials, and we enjoy reading new books, we pressed forward!  Finding, yes! on page 200 of Lim’s book, that Kim Il Song in Pyongyang made the following statement in decrying the decentralization and fragmentation of what he called “cadres of the provinces and the cities and the counties”:

If party members continue to work like this, we cannot guarantee there will not be an incident like the Sinuiju Student Movement in the future…

And in this sentence the Dear Leader vindicated, at least in part, my research agenda.  Co-author Chuck Kraus and I have argued in the Journal of Korean Studies that the Sinuiju Incident of November 1945 is the premiere case study of a North Korean rebellion, and here the Dear Leader agrees.  If North Korea collapses, regionalism, students, religion, and communist security forces are likely to be involved (as in the Sinuiju Incident), as are cross-border influences and the politics of food.

For the record, Kim Jong Il made the statement in an article ferried down to Seoul by Hwang Jong-yop; here’s the cite:

Kim Jong Il, “Kim Il Song chonghap taehak ch’angnip 50-tol kinyomj yonsolmun [A speech of the 50th anniversary of Kim Il Song University],” Wolgon Chosun, April 1997, pp. 308-312.  Note my King-James style bold-facing of his words above.

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