Get into character. Who really changes anyway? Perhaps, perhaps, the Chinese:
We previously knew that China would be providing tickets to 1000 Chinese fans in South Africa to root for North Korean teams, but now Huanqiu Shibao reports in slightly different terms: the headline is ” 朝鲜禁止国内民众前往南非看世界杯比赛,” or, “North Korea forbids citizens in the DPRK to travel to South Africa to watch the World Cup.” In other words, it’s more than a bit critical. (Soccer/football seems to be on the mind in the PRC, as the long-maligned men’s squad somehow pulled out a 1-0 victory over France (photo gallery here).] I thought this comment by a Chinese netizen was particularly apropos: 朝鲜当局连让朝鲜人来丹东吃碗猪肉炖粉条都不肯，还会让他们去非洲找金字塔吗？。。, in other words, “North Korea’s relevant departments strictly forbid North Korean people to come to Dandong to eat a bowl of pork noodles; why would they [now] allow [the North Korean people] to go to South Africa to see the World Cup?”
The Chinese media reports on South Korean action to investigate the Cheonan incident at the UN, with yet another war scare quote (which we reported on here yesterday) from the DPRK delegate at Geneva disarmament talks, Li Changhyon. Americans may be focused on the Gulf Coast and sports at the moment as spring turns decisively toward a summer of leisure or malaise, but China is trying to keep a fair but not completely unsettling amount of news moving into public consciousness about possible war in Korea. Ah yes, now that’s more like it. Unfortunately the Daily Show’s coverage of the Korea crisis, with its recap of the Korean War, left out the entire Chinese intervention in 1950. North Americans, straighten up! This is indeed the land of Lethe!
China has yet to report on the breaking story of a South Korean general charged with spying for North Korea; it seems he met with DPRK officials in China to hand off some of his informational haul.
Chinese ambassadors are out helping with the spring rice transplanting again, reminsicing about Zhou Enlai’s friendship with Kim Il Sung. But in spite of all that, North Korea is straining the edges of the pacts signed by Zhou, and putting forth Kim Jong Il’s blatant plagiarism of the Maoist slogan “Serve the people!”
North Korea is celebrating the anniversary of the 1937 battle for Pochonbo, near Hyesan, reminding everyone that violence is necessary to assure national independence, and that attacking forestry conservation officials is fine so long as they are imperialists.
The North Koreans are turning the Cheonan news within the DPRK increasingly towards accusations of Japanese revival….As to how and why this is an effective tactic, I will immodestly (and no doubt futilely) refer you to my published articles and Ph.D. dissertation. Long analysis on the fall of Hatoyama and the meaning of Okinawan bases for the security of the DPRK. If all that Japan stuff that bores you, try blaming Israel.
In more news of the wierd, quadruplets are now defending the border with North Pyong’an province. The DPRK takes care of everyone, but if your birth heralds the dawn of a mystical songun age, they take care of you particularly well.
Finally, don’t miss this eight-part special by AlJezeera (via the diehard rollback-may as well play “Freebird” for John Foster Dulles-yet always informed anti-DPRK website One Free Korea). We behave as we must, each performing his proper and prescribed role. Thus, the Pygmalion effect.