Putting a Price Tag on North Korea’s October 10 Celebrations

I don’t doubt there is an abundance of potential fury in North Korea’s provinces, but it does seem odd that a single parade, fireworks display, and associated banquets and pageantry would eat up an amount equivalent roughly equivalent to 7% of the country’s GDP (source: CIA World Factbook, 2013 GDP est. at 28 billion). While Pyongyang remains the inevitable epicentre of state expenditure and ostentatious display, the … Continue reading Putting a Price Tag on North Korea’s October 10 Celebrations

Sinologistical Violoncellist China Media Review – Feb. 15, 2011

Today’s focus: Sino-North Korean relations, with tidbits about border security, a North Korean diplomatic visit to France, and the ongoing consequences of Mubarak’s fall in Northeast Asia. Link to the Video Corrections/Auto-critiques: At about 6:40, I mean “North Korean-French relations,” not “Sino-French relations”; a simple Chinese headline hog-ties my tongue; and the Midwestern all-purpose adjective (“interesting”) is entirely too ubiquitous.  Other than that, another day, … Continue reading Sinologistical Violoncellist China Media Review – Feb. 15, 2011

North Korea Notes

The Hu-Obama Summit has already been subjected to some of the most intense lobbying pressures known to man.  From big business to human rights groups to the defense hawks in both countries, both executives have probably had it up to their ears (or, in Hu’s case, his lengthening and positively Cheneyewque jowls) with being pushed to push his counterpart on a given issue.  This being … Continue reading North Korea Notes

Events in Pyongyang

Yesterday the Korean Workers’ Party in Pyongyang celebrated its 65th anniversary with an immense parade that included an appearance by the new big man on campus and the putative successor, Kim Jong-Un. The festivities are covered here with some nice photos from the left-wing Paris paper Liberation (via Yonhap), and the Huanqiu Shibao carries a handful of photos from Xinhua’s photographer in Pyongyang. Huanqiu Shibao … Continue reading Events in Pyongyang

Sino-NK Agreements

The rumor mill continues its inexorable churning as regards Chinese interests in North Korea.  The most astounding assertion (now parading as an established fact) is that China has promised to front almost $10 billion USD in investments in North Korea.  Yonhap put out the original report (no longer available, strangely enough), which is embellished here by the Korea Times and described a bit further on … Continue reading Sino-NK Agreements

Robert Park in the Chinese Press

American human rights rhetoric about North Korea tends to rest upon a self-sustaining paradox: in the view of vocal bloggers and conservative newspapers, the Chinese Communist Party is guilty of perpetuating North Korean human rights abuses, yet, the American advocates of regime change in Pyongyang  make few visible efforts to detect what Chinese people are reading about North Korea, or to gauge to what extent … Continue reading Robert Park in the Chinese Press

Karaoke Will Save the World

What to do when you’ve had a bad year?  How to press forward, gamely or doggedly, with the new tasks thrust upon you by time and those relationships whose original justifications have long since slipped away? Sing some revolutionary songs, that’s what! Liu Xiaoming, the dapper Anglophone and Tufts-educated Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK, is being reassigned to London.  Reflecting North Korea’s tenacious reliance on … Continue reading Karaoke Will Save the World

Pyongyang, Vicariously

Reports from Pyongyang tend to cohere to a standard “Western journalists under control in North Korea” theme.  What sets the best ones apart?   1. “Parallel Universe,” an Australian piece from 2007, features Bradley Martin, author of Under the Care of the Fatherly Leader:    2. “Welcome to North Korea,” a 2001 documentary, runs nearly an hour, and somehow manages to reach a level of profundity through analysis of the … Continue reading Pyongyang, Vicariously

NK-PRC Roundup

The Korean Central News Agency — as well as the Chinese Embassy — in Pyongyang has been putting out all manner of noteworthy stuff lately which is worth some commentary.  Youthful themes abound. 1. Chinese Ambassador on a Farewell (Business) Tour of the Border Region If it weren’t already obvious that China wants to move into overdrive with plans for North Korean economic expansion, Liu … Continue reading NK-PRC Roundup