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

Excellent Resource: DPRK TV on YouTube

I have had the signal pleasure of running across a few YouTube snippets from Korean Central Television before on that Zeitgeist-friendly medium of YouTube, but the site maintained by this particular North Korea fan in Mexico (or so it appears) is particularly rich and frequently updated. Here is the 5-minute coverage of Wen Jiabao’s welcome at the Pyongyang airport:  The above film really does much better … Continue reading Excellent Resource: DPRK TV on YouTube

North Korean “Dream of Red Chamber”: Chinese Netizens Comment / 北朝鲜领导做梦的红楼

While the Anglophone media is predictably aflutter with speculation over the meaning of Envoy Bosworth’s Pyongyang visit, Sino-North Korean diplomacy continues apace. One of the more interesting threads of late is, to my mind, the cultural turn.  North Korea is using cultural diplomacy in an effort to reinforce to the Chinese that the traditional fundament of their alliance remains strong in spite of nuclear intransigence, … Continue reading North Korean “Dream of Red Chamber”: Chinese Netizens Comment / 北朝鲜领导做梦的红楼

Chinese Moves in Pyongyang: Prepare Ye the Way

As U.S. Envoy Stephen Bosworth touches down in Pyongyang, what is the up-to-date state of relations between North Korea and its ostensible Chinese ally? The Nov. 30 revaluation of the North Korean currency by Pyongyang appeared to shock the Chinese government and subsequently elicited disapproval in the Chinese news media. Then, apparently not taking the hint, North Korea abruptly announced it was cutting off tourism … Continue reading Chinese Moves in Pyongyang: Prepare Ye the Way