Okay Peking/Pyongyangologists, get your magnifying glasses out! From body language to decorations to locations, some fascinating stuff here in KCNA's feature on the The Young General's recent visit to Beijing.
This meeting would seem to signal, among other things, that the Trump-Kim summit is indeed happening. Meeting with the American head of state before the Chinese one would be bad form, so even though no one (outside of intelligence agencies) seemed to see this coming, it shouldn't surprise us.
It's kind of amazing that in this world of instant media something this big and stately could happen with no public awareness until after the fact!
Other notable Chinese attendees:
Ding Xuexiang, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee.
Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
Guo Shengkun, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee.
Huang Kunming, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.
Cai Qi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee.
Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister.
Other notable DPRK attendees:
Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the Organization and Guidance Department.
Pak Kwang Ho, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department.
Ri Su Yong, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the International Department.
Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee and director of the United Front Department.
Ri Yong Ho, Foreign Minister.
Via Korea Times:
Devoid of consumer high street banks, North Korea has seen a recent rise in underground financing and investment, much of which supports state-managed projects, a South Korean report said on Thursday.
Private sales and ownership of real estate has been going on for some years now, but it never got much official recognition. According to New Focus International, that may be changing:
The North Korean government has recently allowed the possession and sale of real estate for citizens, to a limited extent.
Via The Hankyoreh:
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is almost certain not to invest in North Korea-related projects for the time being, it has been confirmed.
Daily NK released an interview today with "A North Korean resident from North Pyongan Province residing in China on a personal travel visa..."
This is a highly recommended read (it's not too long) for its candidness, and it's packed with lots of revealing info. Some choice bits:
Many say that people’s livelihoods have become a lot more stable under the Kim Jong Un regime. Would you agree?
And how's this for some perspective:
What are your future goals?
Via KBS World Radio:
"The city of Dandong in China’s southeastern Liaoning Province has announced that it will host the fifth China-North Korea Economic, Trade, Culture and Tourism Expo from October 15th to the 18th.
"The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade’s Dandong committee made the announcement through its Web site on Friday.
"A source in Dandong said the announcement is significant as it had been uncertain whether the expo would be held due to the international community’s fresh sanctions against the North.
Aram Pan, the Singaporean photographer who runs DPRK 360, recently posted a long video at the Pyongyang International Trade Fair. He walks around the grounds and his two lovely guides explain the products to him and where they come from.
The details you can observe here really show a lot, and one that stands out is at 12:18 - you see a transaction taking place in US dollars...at the Cuba booth (actually you see a lot of greenbacks trading hands). The times they are a-changin'. For the better.
Last week scholar Han Yong Mook took the pages of DPRK Today to write an op-ed on why Donald Trump is the best candidate for North Korea.
DPRK Today is a North Korean website that focuses primarily on tourism and culture. Compared to other state media, DPRK Today is pretty light on politics. For a North Korean website it is also one of the most connected to American social media with its own Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest pages among others.
It carries far less editorial weight than publications like Rodong Sinmun or The Pyongyang Times, and the fact that this editorial was published in DPRK Today suggests that someone is trying to test the waters of Western public opinion rather than make an explicit endorsement of Donald Trump by the Kim regime. That's not to say the editorial didn't require approval from upstairs, but there is some distance for deniability in it.
That is, of course, not how the Western media is reporting it. What you will see on CNN and Fox is that North Korea Has Endorsed Donald Trump, when in reality a scholar has been given some leeway in a not very influential publication to float an idea.
NK News has translated the good parts, with Mr. Han saying “In my personal opinion, there are many positive aspects to the Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies...Trump said ‘he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North,’ isn’t this fortunate from North Koreans’ perspective?”
Trump recently said in a New York Times interview that US allies Japan and South Korea should start paying more for the American defense commitment to those countries, or risk a US withdrawal.
“Yes do it, now..." Mr. Han said in his editorial. “Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this? The day when the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification.”
The most important part of the editorial, however, was this: “The president that U.S. citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary — who claimed to adapt the Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula — but Trump, who spoke of holding direct conversation with North Korea.”
Not that dull Hillary.
This guy gets it. Good job Mr. Han. I know Crooked Hillary has already stuck, but hopefully Mr. Trump takes this suggestion as from a man of his own heart. #NotDullHillary.