Note: I’m breaking slightly from my previously-announced fortnight blogging hiatus to try something new: a sort of collection of links on North Korea and Sino-North Korean relations which attempts to combine the advantages of Twitter while removing the fragmentary nature of that platform. (You can subscribe to my Twitter feed here.) I certainly intend to continue with the production of monumental blocks of prose that you may have come to expect here, but feedback on format and utility of the following entry would be welcome.
North Korean Bluster
National Defense Commission is in the driver’s seat in Pyongyang with another explicit nuclear threat http://tinyurl.com/25qmf66
Pyongyang alleges US is openly talking about “preemptive nuclear strike” on North Korea http://tinyurl.com/33qzn9w
The Cheonan effect: war preparations centralize power in the Nat’l Defense Commission//NK much directly threatens nuclear retaliation for US-ROK drill in this Minju Chosun op-ed http://tinyurl.com/2eecj3z
China’s Huanqiu Shibao puts out a long article headlining that US-South Korea joint exercises are “the largest since 1976″ and that “statements by both U.S. and North Korea are growing increasingly fierce” [美韩34年来最大规模军演今开幕 美朝互递狠话]
Closing thought: What would the summer of 2010 have looked like in the DPRK absent the Cheonan incident and resultant war ramp-up? Conversations on currency failures, grain shortages, unproven new leadership, Kim Jong Il’s precarious health, need for market reforms, disbelief that 2012 will see “strong and prosperous nation,” nostalgia for Kim Il Sung. To use a completely unjustified metaphor, it’s like asking what Japanese domestic/military politics would have been like in 1934 absent the Manchurian Incident. Once you let the torpedo out of the tube (or drain the troops into Liaoning province), there’s no going back.
Circuses and Opera for Kim Jong Il
Disquieting June 24 KCNA headline combo: “NK Determined to Maintain Nuclear Deterrent; Kim Jong Il Enjoys Circus” http://tinyurl.com/2cpg5d9
Pyongyang Circus performs for Chairman Kim; he holds forth on _juggling technology_. http://tinyurl.com/29urzcg
Someone else has got to be running the store: Kim Jong Il still obsessed with Tchaikovsky http://tinyurl.com/22tsrtt
KNCA piece on the Pyongyang Circus feels definitive: Kim Jong Il is not exercising any kind of day-to-day control over the Workers’ Party.
Report that China is leasing & renovating port space in Chongjin, DPRK http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&num=6627
N. Hamgyong strategy: “Recruit Women as Officials instead of Incompetent Men” http://goodfriendsusa.blogspot.com/2010_07_01_archive.html
North Koreans get more succession propaganda via discussion of Kim Il Sung’s “newly discovered” remarks on tree carvings http://tinyurl.com/27czqqn
Flooding is serious in North Pyong’an province http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2010/201007/news23
Report from scene of Chinese oil spill in Dalian asserts that North Korea is concerned about environmental impacts http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/07/first-details-on-china-oil-spills-cause-emerge/
Last performance of North Korean opera in Dalian http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2010/201007/news20/20100720-05ee.html
Huanqiu Shibao/Global Times Features
A huge and multi-featured webpage rolling out the red carpet for the North Korean port of Rajin http://tinyurl.com/29bmlpo
Coverage, but not necessarily support, for North Korea’s announcement of possible “nuclear holy war [核圣战]” against the U.S. http://world.huanqiu.com/roll/2010-07/957765.html
A photo gallery of images taken by tourists in North Korea http://travel.huanqiu.com/picture/2010-07/957958.html
Parting thought: War clouds over North Korea might dampen enthusiasm for some international travelers, but Huanqiu Shibao isn’t at all shy about promoting travel to the DPRK.