Chinese Aid to Flood-Hit Areas in North Korea

The PRC’s National Day (1 October) celebrations were muted in Pyongyang, but they did provide an opportunity for Li Jinjun, the Chinese Ambassador to North Korea, to make a few remarks. Reading the rhetoric for such occasions is often not terribly useful; North Korean speakers are not there to announce a change in bilateral policy, nor is their purpose to reveal much of anything by … Continue reading Chinese Aid to Flood-Hit Areas in North Korea

Fireworks from the Bunker: North Korea’s Role in Borderless Tourist Zone Revealed

Everything about this Reuters piece about a possible breakthrough in Chinese-North Korean cross-border tourism is great, until: “The [tri-national] zone is the latest push by North Korea to transform itself into a tourist attraction.” While it is true that North Korea has spent a huge amount of money on tourism prestige projects (i.e., Masik Pass Ski Resort) since Kim Jong-un came to power, it is far … Continue reading Fireworks from the Bunker: North Korea’s Role in Borderless Tourist Zone Revealed

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

Releasing Robert, and Economic Development in Tumen

One Free Korea, channeling Reuters and a fascinating KCNA-published “confession” of the border-hopping misssionary, reports that Robert Park will be released from captivity in North Korea. Meanwhile, Chinese media outlets have yet to pick up the story, but might do so eventually.  Given their druthers, the Chinese would rather not give mainland readers the idea that foreigners are running willy-nilly in the Northeast, as the … Continue reading Releasing Robert, and Economic Development in Tumen

All Roads Lead to Chongjin

Back in October 2009 I wrote about new tourism agreements put into place between North Korea’s North Hamgyong province and Chinese counterparts in Tumen city.  In spite of North Korea putting the brakes on foreign travel in North Korea last December, the trend toward cooperation resumes.  Today North Korea Economy Watch conveys news that Tumen-Chongjin rail travel will soon be possible. Here is the Korea … Continue reading All Roads Lead to Chongjin

Rumblings on the Tumen

China has approved, yet again, an international development zone in the Tumen Delta.  Global Times reports (in English), as does CCTV. The Chinese government has approved a border development zone in the Tumen River Delta to boost cross-border cooperation in the Northeast Asian region, the provincial government of Jilin announced on Monday. The information office of the government said the pilot zone covering 73,000 square kilometers … Continue reading Rumblings on the Tumen