Kim Jong-un: purges, paranoia, plots and the cancelled trip to Moscow

After months of public relations flirtation that led the world to believe that Kim Jong-un would be taking his first foreign trip as head of state to Moscow this month, North Korea has abruptly cancelled the voyage, according to a Russian diplomatic source.

The news comes on the heels of South Korean intelligence reports of yet more purges in the upper echelons of the north, where the spring has been punctuated by executions. The victims are alleged to have included a forestry official, a would-be architecture critic and several espionage-prone members of a state orchestra that travelled to Paris in 2012. (While North Korea’s “first lady” Ri Sol-ju is frequently connected to that musical ensemble, known as the Unhasu Orchestra, she ceased performing with it in 2011 – and the group has already been through a previous round of grisly execution rumours which turned out to be at least partially false.)

North Korea’s cancellation of the Kim Jong-un visit does not mean that the state has stopped its diplomacy altogether. One elder statesman recently returned from a conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where he reconnected with North Korea’s good friends – in this case Robert Mugabe and envoys from Syria and Iran – and there have been vigorous and ongoing discussions with Mongolia and Russia about railroads, coal and off-shore oil exploration.

Compared with this spring’s total quarantine of the country and the closing of the long northern border, due supposedly to fears over an Ebola outbreak, North Korea is indeed still open for business – and tourism.

But Kim Jong-un’s inability to leave his own country even for a few days ought to raise questions about what precisely he is afraid of.

Read the whole thing at The Conversation (UK). 


  1. kim jong un was right! these celebrations of wwii victory in russia and china are wrong! why, both russia and china suffered huge loses during wwii. and china’s liberation effort by the peasant troop under mao was awaiting to be mopped up right after wwii ended. the victory was a win for america’s imperial ambition. and the recent alliance between america and japan is an ominous step toward strenghening this imperial ambition in asia. it’s time for peace loving countries like north korea to buckle down and be vigilant, instead of traveling around and celebrating enemy’s victory.

  2. Adam, it’s a pleasure to read another analysis. Keep up the good work!

    May I suggest a few fairy-tale possibilities.

    1. Park Geun Hye is not going

    There might have been chance for some high-level secret dating in Moscow. But since South Korea’s not going — or more particularly — since Park is not going, why should Kim go?

    2. Let’s avoid an international fau paus, shall we

    Is it actually in the DPRK’s benefit to have their young, inexperienced leader “strutting his stuff”. Give him 5 years of coaching and then try. But not now!!

    3. No political gain

    So what’s this outing going to achieve. I’m sure the press will love to report on his weight and dress sense. But really.. are there going to be any money making opportunities here?

    4. I’m a busy-bee

    There is far too much happening this year to warrant Kim stepping outside of the well trodden corridors within the DPRK, let alone outside of it. As to what this business might amount to, well I don’t know.

    1. kim jong un NEVER said he’s going. it’s russia’s one-sided annoucement.

      the smearing campaign on north korea will be the last of all u monkeys misinformation campaign on ur innocent victim. u just need to count to 5 years, then ur self-induced-nitemare will come to a close.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s