North Korea in the Huanqiu Shibao

In a short report on Chinese tourist trains now moving into North Korea, the Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times) reiterates that Kim Jong Il will likely soon be in China.  It comes, as usual, via a paraphrase of a “foreign media” outlet, an outlet, which, in this case is quoting Chinese media.  It is, in other words, an incredibly circuitous way of China clearing the way in public for a trip to China by the Dear Leader:

菲律宾《问询者报》4月25日文章,原题:中国首旅游列车驶进朝鲜 据中国官方媒体报道,前往朝鲜旅游的首列中国旅游列车,满载400多名游客于24日驶进朝鲜。As stated in an article (“First Trip of Chinese Tourist Train into North Korea”) published on April 25 in the Philippines’ Inquiry Report: According to media reports controlled by the China, the first departure of a Chinese tourist train toward North Korea, full of more than 400 tourists, passed into North Korea on April 24.

根据和朝鲜达成的新安排,此次列车从辽宁省出发,旅行时间为4天,目的是吸引成千上万的游客。400多名游客大部分为中国人,其中还包括在广州留学的芬兰大学生和居住在中国的外国人。 According to arrangements reached with the DPRK, this train departed from Liaoning province, taking four days, attracting the interest of tens of thousands of tourists.  Of the 400 tourists, the majority are Chinese, but the group also includes Finnish university students studying in Guangzhou and foreigners residing in China.

不久前的报道称,朝鲜领导人金正日计划很快访华。他之前访华所乘的交通工具都是火车。中国和朝鲜关系很密切,而中国主导旨在结束朝鲜核计划的六方会谈。▲(王传文译) Other recent reports have stated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il plans to visit China very soon.  His previous trips to China all used trains of the Transportation Ministry.  Sino-North Korean relations are very close, but China wants to lead/manage North Korea towards participation in the 6-Party Talks to conclude North Korea’s nuclear program.  (Translation into Chinese by Wang Zhuan, translation from Chinese by Adam Cathcart).

As if to remind Chinese readers of the PRC’s stake in North Korea — and as a tacit statement that the DPRK cannot simply be abandoned — the Huanqiu Shibao includes a long article about Mao Zedong’s difficult decision to dispatch Chinese troops to North Korea in 1950.

As if that weren’t sufficient, Chinese scanners have been busy, and Huanqiu Shibao features a 47-image gallery of Life magazine images of American troops in the Korean War and 44-image gallery of Korean orphans and American soldiers during the war.

In response to a question asking when North Korean leader Kim Yong Nam would meet Hu Jintao in Shanghai, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Qin Gang (seen below wearing what appears to be a new look) , said:

上海世博会开幕在即,根据我目前掌握的情况,将出席上海世博会开幕式的外国国家元首和政府首脑包括:亚美尼亚总统萨尔基相、刚果(布)总统萨苏、朝鲜最高人民会议常任委员会委员长金永南、法国总统萨科齐、 加蓬总统邦戈、肯尼亚总统齐贝吉、马拉维总统穆塔里卡、马里总统杜尔、马耳他总统阿贝拉、密克罗尼西亚联邦总统莫里、蒙古总统额勒贝格道尔吉、巴勒斯坦国 总统、民族权力机构主席阿巴斯、韩国总统李明博、塞舌尔总统米歇尔、土库曼斯坦总统别尔德穆哈梅多夫,柬埔寨首相洪森、欧盟委员会主席巴罗佐、哈萨克斯坦 总理马西莫夫、荷兰首相鲍肯内德以及越南总理阮晋勇。此外,还有包括议长、国家副元首、政府副首脑、部长等在内的20多个外国重要贵宾团组也将出席上海世 博会开幕式。胡锦涛主席将在上海与包括金永南委员长在内的外国领导人分别举行会谈、会见,我的同事马朝旭会及时向大家介绍相关情况。

In other words, she skirts the key question about Sino-North Korean relations to instead call attention to the fact that there are tons of foreign leaders in town to pay tribute to China enjoy  the Shanghai Expo, including French Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.

Qin Gang, among other things, talks Tibet and Religious Freedom in Beijing -- click image for press conference transcript in Chinese

Finally — and perhaps most interestingly — we get an article about South Korea’s plan, developed in 1983, to assassinate Kim Il Song.  In terms of the timing, it seems clear that this article seeks to give China a bit of breathing room in defense against accusations that the PRC was complicit with the recent North Korean team of agents sent to South Korea to kill Hwang Jong Yop.  And it isn’t Chinese news, don’t miss NK Leadership Watch’s update: Kim Jong Il endorses the military unit from which the would-be-assassins emerged.

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