02 February 2005

Kim Jong Il travels, but will he cross the DMZ?

With all the speculation in the Asian and American press of the potential for unrest and instability in the North Korean government, and the reports of the groundwork for succession, I thought I'd post a few pictures allegedly showing Kim's most recent visits, including a trip to a machine shop, a military unit and a pig farm - Industry, Military and Agriculture. All he needs is a visit to a symphony or an art exhibit and he will have visited all the pillars of North Korean society (and I wouldn't doubt if one isn't reported soon.

Kim is nearing another Birthday (Feb. 16) and all of North Korea (or at least the parts in the state news) are ramping up for the momentous occasion. But even more so is Pyongyang's attention on another key date in September - the 60th anniversary of Korea's division. Pyongyang missed its 2003 plan for diplomatic relations with the United States to mark the 50th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement, it does not want to pass September and still be fighting the same old nuclear crisis three years running (the latest one began in October 2002).

There are repeated denials in the South of a Roh-Kim summit (no one suggested one, so they are either begging or protesting a bit too much), Moscow has offered a possible venue, though Kaesong may end up being more accurate, and likely in August, around liberation day, rather than Moscow's May invitation. (I remember seeing the Kimjongalia hung up on the platform in Seoul right next to the Munghwa in August 2000, quite a shocker at the time, though there was still the euphoria of the summit a few months earlier).

No comments: