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

Merkel in the Middle Kingdom//German State Reports on China//经济合作,人权批评:近日的中德关系

If Sino-German relations cross your radar screen as a topic of significance, then it is certainly worth your time to read JustRecently’s link-rich roundup of the recent state visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  I would only add to his comprehensive rush of sources that this Spiegel investigative piece on alleged espionage by China in Germany got quite a bit of play in … Continue reading Merkel in the Middle Kingdom//German State Reports on China//经济合作,人权批评:近日的中德关系

Japanese Departures

Thanks to the clarion calls of the immortal James Brown, it has become clear: I’m back, and Yukio Hatoyama has indeed “gotten up off of that thing,” relieving pressure by resigning.  More importantly, the U.S.-Japan alliance is again, as NPR reports, “in limbo.”  You could see the writing on the wall, clearly, when Obama visited Japan last year — the tentative nature of the interaction … Continue reading Japanese Departures

人多没办法! Viewing Chinese Power thro the Lens of Spring Festival Chaos

As pundits both knowledgeable and sketchy proclaim a new era in Chinese global assertiveness, it’s helpful to recall one thing: the Chinese people are an immense force, a force whose collective and chaotic power is never more evident to Chinese leaders than in the Spring Festival travel season. For this reason, I have to recommend scrolling through this Huanqiu BBS photo-montage of the craziness of … Continue reading 人多没办法! Viewing Chinese Power thro the Lens of Spring Festival Chaos

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

China-Iran-Russia: Geopolitics and Soft Power

Via Professor Juan Cole’s groundbreaking Informed Comment website, an illustrated commentary on Sino-Iranian relations by Pepe Escobar in France (in English): Then, via Al Jezeera’s English service, a short report on China’s Iran moves in October: The best look at the deep structure of Sino-Iran relations today is probably my colleague John Garver’s work, Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World, published here in Seattle at … Continue reading China-Iran-Russia: Geopolitics and Soft Power

Follow-ups on Wen Jiabao’s Pyongyang Trip

The Martyrs’ Cemetary which Wen went to is actually, according to this Chinese news site, about 100 kilometers east of Pyongyang. I had always imagined that this bust looked down upon a valley.  Now it appears it looks at a wall.  Fortunately Wen Jiabao had respectful — yet somewhat loaded — words for the dead, stated in a “轻声 [light/simple]” voice:“岸英同志,半个世纪了!我代表祖国人民来看望你。祖国现在强大了,人民幸福了。你安息吧 [Comrade Anying, half a … Continue reading Follow-ups on Wen Jiabao’s Pyongyang Trip

Worth Reading re: North Korea

Haggard and Noland, authors of the comprehensive Famine in North Korea, are at it again, with a 43-page research report surveying prison camp experiences in the DPRK.  (Via East-West Center.) Xinhua waxes poetic over a new version of “Dream of the Red Chamber,” a traditional Chinese story set to music by Kim Jong-il led composers and choreographers in the DPRK.  Why?  Because Kim Jong-il sat … Continue reading Worth Reading re: North Korea

“Kim Jong Il Felicitates Chinese Leaders” — Updates on North Korean-Chinese Relations

I wish I could take credit for the title of this post, but it’s another idiomatic KCNA creation.   It headlines a story regarding Kim Jong Il’s praise to China on the 60th anniversary of the PRC.  Incidentally, although most of the document is strictly pro forma, Kim Jong Il made one comment that may be interpreted as dwelling at the intersection of Sino-NK relations … Continue reading “Kim Jong Il Felicitates Chinese Leaders” — Updates on North Korean-Chinese Relations