Ears Plugged, Fuses Lit

Just prior to the tolling of the bells that marked the turning of the year, I was fortunate to have an essay published in South China Morning Post on the subject of China’s leadership and the evolution of their attitudes toward North Korea. Written with two excellent co-authors (Roger Cavazos of Nautilus Insitute and Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga of London School of Economics), the full version of the essay … Continue reading Ears Plugged, Fuses Lit

Hello Boston

I have had a pleasant few days in Berlin corresponding with the editors at MIT Press and Harvard in getting my new article primed for publication. Please be on the lookout for it: Adam Cathcart and Charles Kraus, “The Bonds of Brotherhood: New Evidence of Sino-North Korean Exchanges, 1950-1954,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3 (2011): 27-51.  Preliminary copies can be obtained from … Continue reading Hello Boston

On Sino-North Korea Relations: Three Reads

Stephan Haggard, “China Trip Roundup: The Security Dimension,” Witness to Transformation (PIIE Blog), 2 June 2011, http://www.piie.com/blogs/nk/?p=1560 Sokeel Park, “The Domestic Imperative in China’s North Korea Policy,” Sinocentric (East Asia Blog), 28 May 2011, http://sinocentric.co.uk/?p=1297 Chris Green, “An Anti-Reform Marriage of Convenience” (Interview with Bernd Schaefer on North Korea-China relations), DailyNK, 30 May 2011,  http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk02500&num=7754 Continue reading On Sino-North Korea Relations: Three Reads

Kim Jong Il in China: PRC Media Tropes

If there’s one thing we know about North Korea, it is that the DPRK is intensely mindful of how it is portrayed in foreign media.  Scrutinizing its own international image is something that the North Korean regime does not simply to hunt for materials with which to bludgeon the United States, Japan, and South Korea, but also to keep its nominal “friends” from becoming unrestrained … Continue reading Kim Jong Il in China: PRC Media Tropes

North Korea: Examination Materials

I recently completed a month-long lecture series on North Korean-Chinese relations at Pacific Lutheran University.  Because these lectures were occasioned by a course I teach at PLU, I had the pleasure of writing an exam on the topic. Here, in no particular order, are a few of themes or questions which were covered in the lectures and which my students consequently suggested that I should … Continue reading North Korea: Examination Materials

Muzzle the Scholars Who Blight the Treaties, or, Why Korean-Chinese Scholars Shouldn’t Talk About Kim Jong-Il

[Note: This essay is read aloud by the author here.] China’s information environment with regard to North Korea has become increasingly free-wheeling since the stunning nuclear test of May 25, 2009, and this blog has consistently taken note of that singular fact.  Beijing University scholars were told that summer that the gloves could now come off with reference to studies of the DPRK, and consequently, … Continue reading Muzzle the Scholars Who Blight the Treaties, or, Why Korean-Chinese Scholars Shouldn’t Talk About Kim Jong-Il

Smartphone Border Run Shamaness North Korea Remittance China Friendly Kim’s New Family KCNA Pastiche

KCNA, the North Korean “news” agency, has a fascinating piece on problems caused by smartphones in US prisons (thus simultaneously bashing America and reminding readers that mobile technology is potentially criminal), reminds us that Japan is on the warpath to imperial expansion in Asia (even as Japan still has, in a rare admission from KCNA, a peace constitution), that cadre and everyone else is bucking … Continue reading Smartphone Border Run Shamaness North Korea Remittance China Friendly Kim’s New Family KCNA Pastiche

Chinese Troops in North Korea?

On the eve of Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington, D.C., the Chosun Ilbo releases an explosive report that Chinese troops have moved into the Rason Special Economic Zone on Korea’s northeastern tip.   I just posted a rather extensive comment on this story on the One Free Korea site, the contents of which I won’t mirror here, except to add that according to this translation … Continue reading Chinese Troops in North Korea?

Perils of the Non-Verified and the Fictional: Just Another Week in News from North Korea

Why did it take me this long to figure it out?  With the exception of Sunny Lee, no news reporter who writes in English, who is based in Beijing or Seoul or Washington, whose job it is to report on North Korea, actually reads the Chinese-language press about North Korea. How else to explain the void in this story about a train from Sinuiju, which … Continue reading Perils of the Non-Verified and the Fictional: Just Another Week in News from North Korea