A fascinating item appeared recently in the Chinese press which explained that Ma Won-chun, a top aide to Kim Jong-un in North Korea, made a surprise visit to Beijing in early June. Naturally I had to translate it, writing up a few thoughts along the way on the purpose of the trip, the historical background, etc. Fortunately, Christopher Green, who edits the “Jangmadang” series at … Continue reading What Was Kim Jong-un’s Top Aide Doing in Beijing?
The North Korean embassy is set on a leafy walled campus in Beijing’s wicked and rambling Chaoyang district. It lies in close proximity to China’s Foreign Ministry, that grey monolith where I work each summer. The North Koreans have a small fleet of cars, mostly old. I have seen them driving Nissan sedans, circa 1986, repainted by hand in a dark blue; some of the … Continue reading Encountering the DPRK in Beijing