Footsteps: Kim Jong-un and the Possibility of Indonesia in April 2015

Picking up on South Korean government sources, the Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times) in Beijing reports that Kim Jong-un may be taking his first foreign trip as head of state this coming April.  More information about the conference, which in part appears to be anniversary celebration of the famous Bandung Conference of 1955, is here (in English), and a reasonably decent breakdown of the story (also in … Continue reading Footsteps: Kim Jong-un and the Possibility of Indonesia in April 2015

‘Succession is the Issue’: Rap Ditty on the Kim Clan and Sino-North Korean Relations

If you want footnotes or typed lyrics, then they shall be produced.  Otherwise, enjoy this little ditty, which began in the pre-dawn with a civilized train ride and a consequent eyeful of Mount Ranier red sunrise over frozen fields (the peak appearing to erupt in slow motion), and ended twenty minutes later in a gust on top of a garbage can. A model for future … Continue reading ‘Succession is the Issue’: Rap Ditty on the Kim Clan and Sino-North Korean Relations

Did Kim Jong Il Visit East Germany in 1960?

Kim Jong Il biographers appear to be conflicted about the young man’s whereabouts in the year 1960.  Was the nineteen-year-old future leader traveling around the German Democratic Republic, or was he getting things rolling at the university in Pyongyang which still bears his father’s name?  Or perhaps both?  His official biography, in any case, has him firmly at Kim Il Sung University. I don’t have … Continue reading Did Kim Jong Il Visit East Germany in 1960?

North Korean Propaganda Roundup

Reading the Korea Central News Agency’s dispatches (e.g., North Korean propaganda stories) makes for a good blast-off into larger works. Today, North Korea confirmed that it signed an agreement in Dandong for a new bridge across the Yalu. Distress over starvation in the countryside may have led to this return to Kim Il Song’s wisdom (vintage 1964) and his son’s resolve to “solve the rural … Continue reading North Korean Propaganda Roundup

China-North Korea Succession Tiff?

The Asahi Shimbun again stirs the pot with a compelling report on Sino-North Korean relations, making some new assertions that China opposed North Korea’s hereditary system of succession recently and this past May.  Asahi’s sources indicated that North Korean grey-eminence-behind-the-throne Jang Song-taek may have twice traveled to Beijing in the May-June 2009 window both before and after the DPRK exploded a bomb on the Chinese … Continue reading China-North Korea Succession Tiff?

More Data on the North Korean Succession Struggles

Struggles for royal succession have never been entirely clear, even in the morally-charged world and post-facto world of the ancient Chinese historian Sima Qian.  This past summer, a number of developments were asserted regarding North Korea’s next generation of leadership, mostly surrounding speculation about the youngest son of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong-un.  Earlier, I translated some new German sources about the boy’s time as … Continue reading More Data on the North Korean Succession Struggles

North Korean Successor Buzz Suddenly Silent: Correcting and Explaining the Daily NK’s Report

The Daily NK reports on the somewhat mystifying drop-off in North Korean discussion about the ostensible successor, Kim Jong Un.  (Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.) In general, the Daily NK reports are highly valuable, but their translations from the original Chinese/Korean are full of errors and innuendo. Since so many people in the English-language Internet realm rely on Daily NK, it’s important … Continue reading North Korean Successor Buzz Suddenly Silent: Correcting and Explaining the Daily NK’s Report