Chinese TV reports that preparations are underway for North Korean heir apparent Kim Jong Eun to visit CCP leaders in Beijing in “late April or early May.”
Accordingly, a rather critical report on the Huanqiu Shibao website asserting that North Korean nuclear facilities in Yongbyon were leaking radioactivity (why else would Kim Jong Il avoid the place so assiduously?) has been taken down in favor of a more innocuous report from the Wall Street Journal about a new Ian Fleming-style airstrip which the North Koreans have been building into a mountain near Wonsan.
The report on Kim Jong Eun’s forthcoming visit comes from the North Korean ambassador in Beijing, whose office, according to a French journalist, has recently been sprucing up their photo montage across from Ritan Park (http://www.jordanpouille.com/2011/04/10/drpk-ambassade-coree-du-nord/ ).
It is worth noting how inclusive the North Koreans were with the Chinese during the big April 15 celebrations of Kim Il Song’s birthday. The Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang hosted a number of meetings and set up a large cultural extravaganza on April 13. Pictures from the Chinese orchestra/ballet/acrobat show in Pyongyang can be found on the website of the Chinese embassy in that city (http://kp.china-embassy.org/chn/zxxx/t814478.htm).
However, KCNA still occasionally returns to standard form, noting that a few Chinese “cannot repress their yearning” for Kim Il Song (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news08/20110408-35ee.html).
A few items of note in the Sino-North Korean borderlands. Kim Jong Il was in Jagang on April 8 (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news08/20110408-41ee.html) and a new “Martyr’s Cemetary” has been completed in Sinuiju ( http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news10/20110410-14ee.html). The lumber industry, that is rafts of logs floating down the Yalu remains a point of pride and production (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news19/20110419-17ee.html ). While at one time there were rumors of a Chinese takeover of Hyesan Youth Mine, clearly the facility is still a mess (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news21/20110421-46ee.html). The DPRK minister of electricity did make a courtesy call recently to the Chinese Embassy, however.
There has been more open news about China in the DPRK since last year, and most of it is of the law-and-order, anti-Japanese variety. A few examples: North Korea praises China’s crackdown on “indecent publications” ( http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news10/20110410-08ee.html ) lauds Huanqiu Shibao rhetorical attack on Japanese contaminated water (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news12/20110412-19ee.html), describes China’s efforts to tighten border security with Laos (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news18/20110418-31ee.html ), a country that has seen more than a few North Korean refugees coming across the border thanks to missionaries like Mike Kim.
In return, China praises North Korean environmental policy, stroking a bit of “Eco-Kimism,” if you will (http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news21/20110421-07ee.html ).
One of the more curious items of praise in the KCNA dispatches of the last couple of weeks was about a Chinese businessman lauded for “saving Korean girls” ( http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201104/news12/20110412-35ee.html).
This generously vague bit of praise indicates that Chinese capitalists can be considered friends to the North Korean revolution, when in fact Chinese capitalists have up until this point been some of the most hated characters in North Korean fiction such as Sea of Blood.