Dandong Discourse: China-DPRK Trade Fair, and Rumblings in Xinchengqu

Historians have surely seen better days between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kim-centric Workers’ Party of [North] Korea, but business continues apace today in the borderland. The main item seen in the past few weeks (i.e., something “new” that hasn’t yet made it yet into our wonderful Anglophone discourse) is the subject of today’s post. And the news is that the China-DPRK Trade Fair and Culture/Tourism Expo … Continue reading Dandong Discourse: China-DPRK Trade Fair, and Rumblings in Xinchengqu

Strung Out: Fencing and Security on the Chinese-Korean Frontier

Q.: Have you heard anything about how extensive the fencing is along the North Korea-China border? A.: Ishimaru Jiro of AsiaPress travels the Tumen Valley extensively. This past summer in a trip there with a Deutsche Welle camera crew, he noted that some additional fencing had gone up along one relatively active crossing point.  However, this is not to be taken as gospel that it’s being … Continue reading Strung Out: Fencing and Security on the Chinese-Korean Frontier

Commemorating National Humiliation in China

Today is September 18, 1931, at least in China, where the 80th anniversary of the incident which unleashed the Japanese Imperial Army to break off the entire northeast from the Republic of China and, a few months later, proclaim it an independent garrison state named “Manchukuo” which was justified on rhetoric of ethnic harmony and propogation of the yen bloc. It’s usually a sign that … Continue reading Commemorating National Humiliation in China

Obedient, Intransigent North Korea in the Chinese Media

Thanks to the ever-productive Joshua Stanton at the very useful but hopelessly Anglophone (and somewhat impervious) command post for North Korean counter-revolution known as One Free Korea, I got motivated to do some more analysis of Chinese sources touching upon the recent flare-up in the sea to the west (and north!) of the DMZ in Korea. As I see it, Chinese media strategy as regards … Continue reading Obedient, Intransigent North Korea in the Chinese Media

Manchurian Base Camp, Part III: The DPRK’s Northeastern Strategy

Manchurian Base Camp, Part I: In the 1930s Kim Il Song regarded Manchuria, or Northeast China, as an immense area into which to project anti-Japanese struggle and wherein he could hammer out the personal foundations for what would become the North Korean state.   Manchurian Base Camp, Part II: During the Korean War, North Korean elites moved back into Manchuria to escape from the horrific bombing … Continue reading Manchurian Base Camp, Part III: The DPRK’s Northeastern Strategy

Assassin Disinformation: Western and Chinese Media Parse the Defectors

In case you hadn’t heard, two North Korean assassins were recently apprehended in South Korea on a mission to kill Hwang Jang Yop, the grizzled 87-year-old architect of the juche philosophy who defected — via Beijing — to Seoul in 1997. This assassination attempt is kind of a big deal because — apart from the cinematic revelations that the two were instructed to cut off … Continue reading Assassin Disinformation: Western and Chinese Media Parse the Defectors

Propagandizing Manchukuo

In the mid-1930s, the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo was heavily promoted not just in Japan, but in England, the United States, and Germany.  Japanese businesses sought foreign investment in Manchukuo, even if full-bore diplomatic recognition was not forthcoming.  There are many, many travelogues to Manchuria in the years from 1933-1937 which extol Japan’s efforts to cleanse Manchuria of bandits, organize rural communities, and promote … Continue reading Propagandizing Manchukuo