Bubble at the Summit: Insecurities in Kim Jong-un Itineraries

Is Kim Jong-un staggeringly confident, or do his behaviours and travel itineraries betray personal neuroses and structural fears? The short answer is that it depends on the issue under discussion. Let’s take the economy for starters. Like a shrimp rediscovering its appetite after an awful oil spill, the North Korean economy appears to be improving, or so argue a number of indicators. Several smaller dams around the … Continue reading Bubble at the Summit: Insecurities in Kim Jong-un Itineraries

Is China losing faith in North Korea? A Contribution to The Guardian

Having been asked to put something together for the Guardian‘s new North Korea network, I did, and had the following short essay included as part of a very fine panel: One of the things you quickly realise from travelling along the full length of the Chinese border with North Korea is just how much of North Korea there is. China’s boundary stretches along four northern … Continue reading Is China losing faith in North Korea? A Contribution to The Guardian

Kim Jong Il Dies in His Train: Updates

About an hour ago at noon Pyongyang time, Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong Il had died yesterday morning in his train “from overwork.” A Chinese reporter, Zhao Shuguang [赵曙光], who described in earlier reports the North Korea leader’s desire to make it to age 70 in the year 2012, and who has also been accused of fabricating reports to favor the North … Continue reading Kim Jong Il Dies in His Train: Updates

Emerging Chinese Narratives in the Sino-Korean Border Zone // 环球广播的中朝边区报道

The Korean border news narrative of the Chinese Communist Party seems to be changing in some subtle and perhaps fundamental ways.  As Michael Rank first pointed out on North Korea Economy Watch, the Huanqiu Shibao is now reporting on security problems with North Korean refugees along the Tumen River, and doing so in a relatively aggressive manner: A Chinese report has highlighted how villagers on … Continue reading Emerging Chinese Narratives in the Sino-Korean Border Zone // 环球广播的中朝边区报道

Sunday Links: Korea

1. Joshua Stanton’s analysis of Sino-North Korean relations on One Free Korea is stuffed with things worth thinking about.  Of course, when he equates the Global Times with the Nazi organ Voelkische Beobachter, I, speaking as someone who actually reads the Global Times (usually in its Chinese version, not through partial characterizations of articles by Reuters or AFP or South Korean papers) as well as … Continue reading Sunday Links: Korea

Did North Korea Really Threaten “Nuclear Attacks”?

[Update: KCNA has now posted the full text of the relevant statement (h/t Igor).  The nightmare scenario that prompted it — of a U.S.-ROK contingency plan for an invasion of North Korea — is illustrated graphically here at the site of the French-North Korean Friendship Association. Some slight BBS activity on China’s Huanqiu site is directed at praising North Korea’s courage in defying the U.S.  … Continue reading Did North Korea Really Threaten “Nuclear Attacks”?

Mobile Phones and Subversive Activity in the DPRK

I did some translation work just now on Curtis Melvin’s site and thought I might toss it up on S.V. for readers who don’t frequent NK Economy Watch.  (Unthinkable! ) Melvin quotes this Donga Ilbo story which describes the connection between an assassination attempt at a North Pyong’an train station on Kim Jong Il in 2004 (not to be confused with An Hyo San at … Continue reading Mobile Phones and Subversive Activity in the DPRK

Further Evidence China is Displeased with North Korean Currency Reform

On December 8, the Huanqiu Shibao carried an item headlined “South Korean Media Reports that Two North Korean Citizens Illegally Trading Currency Were Executed [韩媒称两名朝鲜居民因非法兑换货币被枪决],” marking the first time in my memory that China has drawn such explicit attention to North Korea’s arbitrary system of justice. Not only does the appearance of this news further reinforcing that China is displeased, it indicates that Xinhua isn’t … Continue reading Further Evidence China is Displeased with North Korean Currency Reform

China-DPRK

PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH ARTICLES (2014). “Nation, Ethnicity, and the Post-Manchukuo Order in the Sino-Korean Border Region,” with Charles Kraus, in Key Papers on Korea: Papers Celebrating 25 Years of the Centre of Korean Studies, SOAS, University of London, Andrew D. Jackson, ed. (Brill) 79-99. (2014). “How Authoritarian Regimes Maintain Domain Consensus: North Korean Information Strategies in the Kim Jong-un Era,” Review of Korean Studies, co-authored with … Continue reading China-DPRK

Environmental Movements and the DPRK [II]

In an earlier post I went off the handle in Beat style and demanded that the U.S. and China get serious about both engaging and pressuring the North Koreans by focusing on environmental issues: Send Stephen Chu to pound on the table at the Six-Party Talks! Blast down the tunnels at the DMZ for joint seismic research!  Tag the tigers endangered and let them leap … Continue reading Environmental Movements and the DPRK [II]