Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong-il has temporarily shut down the guidance train. For the last moth, General-Secretary Kim was reported by KCNA and KCTV to be out and about, primarily at economic locations, offering praise, assurances and attempting to implement policy. Since, the NLL skirmish between the DPRK and ROK navies, however, Yonhap reports that Kim Jong-il seems to have gone to ground, despite making appearances after previous West (Yellow) Sea dust-ups. In a post-DPRK media availability, France’s Special Envoy Jack Lang said that DPRK officials told him General-Secretary Kim was not in Pyongyang at that time the French delegation visited. US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region also does little to assuage Kim Jong-il’s characteristic caginess. Then again, maybe a batch of foreign DVD’s has arrived and the General-Secretary is catching up on his movie watching.
Kim Jong-il may be out of sight, but he is not out of mind, having sent a hi and howdy to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Before folks start activating General-Secretary Kim’s virtual EKG machine, these are communications which only he can authorize.
Meanwhile, Chosun Ilbo reports that among the agreements signed between China and the DPRK, one included an arrangement between the DPRK’s External Liaison and Operations Department and Chinese public security officials. Chinese officials are notorious for repatriating North Korean migrants back into the DPRK, and the DPRK is known to use China has a transshipment locale for narcotics and counterfeit currency. The gist of the agreement finds China working with DPRK authorities on the former in exchange for North Korean cooperation with regard to the latter.