Worth Reading re: North Korea

Haggard and Noland, authors of the comprehensive Famine in North Korea, are at it again, with a 43-page research report surveying prison camp experiences in the DPRK.  (Via East-West Center.)

Xinhua waxes poetic over a new version of “Dream of the Red Chamber,” a traditional Chinese story set to music by Kim Jong-il led composers and choreographers in the DPRK.  Why?  Because Kim Jong-il sat for a couple of hours in Pyongyang with Wen Jiabao to watch the show!  A very peculiar, yet familiar, type of musical diplomacy.  (KCNA reports on it here.)

And Mike Madden, who has recently completed a biography of Jang Song-taek, analyzes French activism on the North Korean front of late.  Madden has just started the blog, but he’s clearly an expert and the site is one to watch — I would definitely encourage DPRK watchers to bookmark it.  Meanwhile, Sarkozy is inking contracts for French oil concerns in Kazakhstan!

And, getting back to the “Resist America Aid Korea” bedrock of the Sino-North Korean alliance, Wen Jiabao lays flowers at the tomb of Mao Zedong’s son in Pyongyang.  Heaven only knows if real North Koreans are allowed into Chinese cemetaries, but Xinhua played this one for all it was worth.  (Story and video here on CCTV.)

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