Chinese internet sites are now reporting on the extensive forest fires in North Korea. Most interesting is how they are interpreting the fires, emphasizing the idea that they may be occurring around North Korean missile launching sites. The Reuters report in which this speculation is buried is here. Yet somehow the Chinese media makes it the headline. Is this another subtle means of putting pressure on North Korea, more confirmation of central over local imperatives in reporting North Korea-related news, or a sop to Chinese nationalists eager to look down on North Korea?
Comments on the relevant Chinese BBS: “Those idiots are grilling chicken,” “America is putting on a show for the pig farmers,” and, in response, the original commenter returns to say “No, you American dog, they are grilling chicken.” In other words, nothing very intelligent, but Chinese jokes about what North Koreans are eating (or not eating) can sometimes be considered worthy of attention.
(Hat tip to the Chollima searching skills of Juchechosunmansei, who posted the 163.com link in response to my CCP-exasperation on One Free Korea.)
None of this seems to have prevented Kim Jong Il from having a delightful time yesterday in the epicenter of state power, Pyongyang. Life is good in the capital, where construction of new apartments is proceeding apace. NK Leadership Watch provides a comprehensive look at Kim Jong Il’s perorations through Pyongyang’s architectural glory. Perhaps North Korea is considering following one specific Chinese model for social stability of floating populations: settle them in giant apartment blocs and get the video cameras going.