Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
US President Barack Obama is not the only foreign dignitary to arrive in Beijing this week. Among three (3) delegations reported through KCNA as departing Pyongyang, MPAF General Political Bureau Senior Deputy Director and NDC Member Gen. Kim Jong-gak led a Korean People’s Army delegation on a China-bound trip on Tuesday (17 November), arriving in Beijing Tuesday morning. Gen. Kim was invited by the General Political Department of the PLA and met with China Vice President Xi Jinping after his arrival, reported by Xinhua. It is unclear whether Gen. Kim’s trip relates to President Obama’s presence in East Asia this week (he will touch down in Seoul imminently), but it should be noted that Kim Jong-gak was a prominent participant during Wen Jiabo’s visit to the DPRK this year. We might also want to view Gen. Kim as the GPB’s current director. VMAR Jo Myong-rok, the GPB’s director, is reported to have renal failure and in frail health.
KCNA also reported the Tuesday departures of the KWP International Department’s Senior Deputy Director Pak Kyong-son to a communist/workers’ party convention in New Delhi, and Ministry of Public Security Vice Minister Ho Yong Ho attending a “first global ministerial conference” on road safety in the Russian Federation.
It is certainly interesting for both North Korea and China to highlight DPRK-PRC military cooperation while Obama is in town. Keeping in mind that Xi Jinping also met Obama at the airport, China is certainly succeeding at reminding US policy makers that it is the ultimate go-between. Perhaps they fear being cut out of whatever “grand bargain” results from inter-Korean or DPRK-US negotiations.
Or perhaps this is all just military-to-military fence-mending?
Speaking of fences, suddenly Rodong Sinmun is saying “tear down this wall!” which probably terrifies Lee Myung-bak:
KCNA pumps up the Xi Jinping meetings today as well:
Of the top leadership in KPA or WPK, it would be interesting to know which has most extensive experience in China, or if these contacts tend to be superficial. At least the CCP Politburo has one member who has a degree from Kim U. (金大).
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