‘Day of Songun’ and the Ongoing Succession Process in North Korea

It is a coincidence, but an interesting one, that North Korean representatives concluded their negotiations with South Korea just in time for August 25, the ‘Day of Songun’ in the DPRK.  As faithful readers of the Sino-NK website will be aware, the ‘Day of Songun’ was devised in 2012 and promulgated in 2013; its overt intention was to commemorate the deceased Kim Jong-il’s early dedication … Continue reading ‘Day of Songun’ and the Ongoing Succession Process in North Korea

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

It Takes a Nation of Slogans

North Korea may be economically poor but it is surely rich with slogans. Some three hundred were recently published in the country.  Private advertising is still very much circumscribed, and further given the fact that rolling power blackouts that occur in virtually every area outside of the capital, slogans, songs, and posters remain key means of delivering ideological content in North Korea. Kim Jong-il spent … Continue reading It Takes a Nation of Slogans

Succession Politics and Commemorative Culture in North Korea: Seminar Paper at SOAS

On 14 November, I will be delivering the following paper at the SOAS Centre for Korean Studies as part of their seminar series. Succession Politics and Commemorative Culture in North Korea Abstract: In the Kim Jong-un era (December 2011-present), the North Korean state has made a series of moves to further augment and consolidate the ideological foundations of Kimism. Rather than using the emergence of … Continue reading Succession Politics and Commemorative Culture in North Korea: Seminar Paper at SOAS

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

Lux Sinica: China’s Civilizing Influence in North Korea

It takes more than a few days, or perhaps a few weeks, to sift through all the reports, speculation, and rumors surrounding Kim Jong Il’s “new deal” with China.  At the end of the day, though, it seems that a single question aids in interpreting the phenomenon: To what extent has Kim Jong Il’s visit to China spurred the North Korean regime to embrace even … Continue reading Lux Sinica: China’s Civilizing Influence in North Korea

Kim Jong Il in China: 28 Things You May Have Missed

Cross-Border Economic Development 1. Indeed, the Rodong Sinmun [劳动新闻/Worker’s Daily], North Korea’s key ideological mouthpiece, has said nothing of Kim Jong Il’s since his junket to a Hamgyong fruityard. But what has flowered in place of news of Kim?  The halls of Pyongyang, at least the ones with lighting, are suddenly again flush with economic optimism. The phrases present in this Rodong Sinmun, May 20, editorial had … Continue reading Kim Jong Il in China: 28 Things You May Have Missed

Kim Jong Il in China: PRC Media Tropes

If there’s one thing we know about North Korea, it is that the DPRK is intensely mindful of how it is portrayed in foreign media.  Scrutinizing its own international image is something that the North Korean regime does not simply to hunt for materials with which to bludgeon the United States, Japan, and South Korea, but also to keep its nominal “friends” from becoming unrestrained … Continue reading Kim Jong Il in China: PRC Media Tropes

The News from North Korea: Relations with China, Aerial Drone Denunciations, Green Totalitarianism, and the Middle East

Since the emergence of putative successor Kim Jong Eun into the public eye, the North Korean news media — specifically the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA — has taken pains to publish more content about two things: youth, and the international situation. What this equates to is an expanded view of what North Koreans are encouraging people to talk about, and how the state … Continue reading The News from North Korea: Relations with China, Aerial Drone Denunciations, Green Totalitarianism, and the Middle East