Bypassing Beijing? North Korean Foreign Relations in April and May

Responding with appropriately prepared shock to the 15 April rocket launch, assessing the crescendo to the big Party Congress in early May in Pyongyang, adding to the noise over the defection of “the Ningbo 13,” and spreading rumours of a fifth nuclear test: all of these activities take time and effort. Get ready for North Korea's counterpropaganda offensive about the #Ningbo13. It starts w/ CNN … Continue reading Bypassing Beijing? North Korean Foreign Relations in April and May

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

Kim Jong-un’s Cane and the Manchurian Guerrilla Faction: BBC Interview

In the pre-history and contemporary history of both the People’s Republic of China and its North Korean counterpart, purges have been a regular — if unpredictably appearing — phenomenon. Kim Il-sung’s purge of his wartime Foreign Minister Pak Han-yong in 1953 was followed shortly thereafter by a Maoist purge of Gao Gang, the very individual through whom so much Chinese aid flowed via Manchuria, in 1954. … Continue reading Kim Jong-un’s Cane and the Manchurian Guerrilla Faction: BBC Interview