North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

The Harden they come

Despite the missile tests on Monday (the second round could come at any point in the next five days) and the usual editorial bellyaching in the pages of Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK is making some kind effort to strum a new chord in its relations with South Korea, Japan and the United States.  Time will tell if this is a sincere desire on the part of the North Korean leadership, a legacy for Kim Jong-il to pass on to the country’s next leadership, or if this is another attempt to extract diplomatic concessions, currency and foodstuffs, and then, entertain the darker angels of the DPRK’s collective heart.  In the spirit of General-Secretary Kim’s new happy face comes a good piece from Blaine Harden in Washington Post that presents a general audience with a concise summary of the week’s events in the DPRK.  Of especial note in Mr. Harden’s story is the presence in Pyongyang this week of Rev. Franklin Graham (Billy’s son).  With both South Korea and the US State Department preferring to litigate their DPRK-based concerns in the press, perhaps it will be private efforts by people such as Rev. Graham (the Grahams have been dealing with the North Koreans for nearly twenty years) and Good Friends that end up facilitating better relations with the DPRK and ease the material plight of North Korean citizens.  On the darker side of things Choe Sang-hun has another installment on the unrelenting naval disputes between the two Koreas.

I will have a post (hopefully within the next 24-36 hours) about the other possible reason for the DPRK’s missile tests.

What’s Gotten Into N. Korea?

Blaine Harden, 15 October 2009

Washington Post

Pak Ui Chun Meets Franklin Graham

KCNA, 14 October 2009

North Korea Accuses South of Naval Intrusion

Choe Sang-hun, 16 October 2009

International Herald-Tribune

No Comments

  1. adamcathcart
    October 15, 2009

    In thinking about the meaning of the missile test, you might want to check out this somewhat curious CCP editorial that appeared in China Daily:
    http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/viewthread.php?gid=2&tid=649874

    (The above version of the editorial was posted on a BBS, but I saw it yesterday in the print edition and so it is legit, even though for some reason Xinhua left it off the main China Daily internet portal.)

    Somehow to China, this test only apparently reaffirms what a great time it is for the Six-Party talks to restart. Seems that no opprobrium from China reached Pyongyang about the tests, in any event. Just something to think about, ultimately probably not all that significant. China is a bit busy these days baring its teeth at India, anyway…

  2. nkleadershipwatch
    October 16, 2009

    Good reading from the ChinaDaily! In the general media discourse (Zakaria, Friedman, etc) over the rising powers in China and India, one never hears about the simmering tensions between the two countries, which did have a military conflict in the 1960’s. Nation-state conflicts may be waning, but they are possible. There was an excellent monograph out of USAWC that addressed some of this. And while they have proven to be economic powerhouses recently, these are two countries contending with finite resources and demographic disasters of every shade and flavor. I wouldn’t make book, but it may only be a matter of time before China and India stop barking and start biting.

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