Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
The English site for DailyNK features a summary of a series of blogposts written by Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reporter Rose Luqiu Luwei, who accompanied Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on his recent trip to the DPRK. The only thing DailyNK neglected to include was a link to the English translation featured on the resource danwei.org put together by Alice Xin Liu. One can also read Rose Luqiu Luwei’s original Chinese account of her North Korean foray here. The translation of Rose Luqiu’s observations of General Secretary Kim from a distance:
When I discovered that Kim Jung-il had appeared it was due to the earth-shaking cries around me, at this time Premier Wen’s plane had also just landed, and was on the lane far away. Although it was in Korean, but I could hear that the slogan was, “Long Live Kim Jung-il.” I turned my head and saw Kim Jung-il wearing a Kim Jung-il suit, he had already stepped out of the car.
Although he was skinny and his left leg looked a little stiff, it didn’t look like too much effort to walk. Perhaps it was because he’s used to the cries of the people, as he didn’t react to his surroundings, and kept on walking. He didn’t wave to the crowds, he didn’t even look. When Premier Wen walked with Kim Yong-il past the Armed Forces, he stood behind them very casually, with his hands behind his back, with his right leg out. We could see that his hair had thinned under the explosive hairstyle, and he was a little bald. When Premier Wen walked past to shake hands with the people, he stood far away, walking and talking with Kim Yong Nam, waiting for Premier Wen to finish walking past the people.
Kim Jong-il has historically been a reticent personality. In both the Shing Sang-ok/Choi Eun-hee and Kenji Fujimoto memoirs, General-Secretary Kim’s reactions to the cheering crowds varied from the crude (“It’s all bullshit.”) to the understated (“This is all pretense.”). We might also recall that the only known account of his voice being broadcasted in the DPRK was a one-sentence hosannah to the Korean People’s Army. One mark of his succeeding Kim Il-sung was to do away with the annual New Year’s Address and publish a joint editorial in the North Korean press. During his guidance tours, various reports have found that worksites are usually cleared of their workers, while Kim Jong-il does his walk-through and usually meets only KWP secretaries and guidance officers. Still, during Premier Wen’s visit, it was unusual that Kim Yong-il, the DPRK Premier, conducted Mr. Wen through the review of soldiers, something Kim Jong-il used to undertake.
Alice Lin Xiu, 13 October 2009
Rose Liuqiu Luwei’s blog on Phoenix TV