Kim Jong il is in Moscow. He looks good physically, having put on weight which he shed during his recent illness.
Lord love the western media in covering Kim. GuamDiary marvels at the general amnesia that beset allegedly savvy journalists. Where's the context?
Since the scuppering of Kim Dae Jung's 'Sunshine Policy' by South Korea's president Lee Myung bak in 2008, an active cold war began anew between the two Koreas. Lee's aggressive 'Drang nach Norden' policy even broke out into a shooting war in November 2010 setting Lee's US ally and protector's teeth clacking lest the frozen Korean War already 60 standing might break out again, and how could America sustain three wars in Asia? Luckily, quick restraints by the Obama administration, pulled Lee back in line again. Still, the ROK president fancies himself as the 'reunifier' of a divided Korean peninsula by 2017, if we can believe that?
Where in today's coverage of the 'Dear Leader's' trip is there any recall of the glowing future projects the 'Sunshine Policy' gave rise to? The reopening of a railway line from the South through the North and then on through Russia's EurAsian land mass to markets in western Europe, for example. Today's reports carry the fear that a pipeline carry Russia's gas along such a route through the DPRK into the ROK raises the spector of Kim Jong il's having leverage on the South's fuel supply and economic powerhouse. No such fears, it seemed, gripped South Korea when in 1998 the 'Sunshine Policy' was launched. But today, they do. And if they do, look to Lee for who's to blame. Furthermore, his relentless pursuit of 'teaching the North a lesson it won't forget' until it collapses has brought the South Korean president more worry than result.
The western media is so fixated in denying the North's day in the court of public opinion that they are willing to print any rumour. They have been predicting Kim Jong il death; they are forever ruminating over the day and the time of the DPRK's collapse; they hardly look for signs of the changes, say, on the economic front going on in the DPRK even though there is growing evidence by scholars of such changes; they talk of starving North Koreans but praise the US, South Korea, Australia, and the European Union for cutting off food aid under the pretext that the food will go to the military and not to those in need, even though such NGOs like Mercy Corp. has monitored the distribution of these donations from port to the point of distribution in the affected provinces without interference until they were cut off in 2008.
It may also come as a surprise that the Swiss have been able to successfully operate food distribution centres in the countryside, as well as establish a successful business school in Pyongyang. Where is the coverage on this?
And the US North Korea clerisy dependent on government largesse spin like a weather vane on North Korea following the winds of the government's policy towards the DPRK, to the point that hardly any distanced themselves from a Council on Foreign Relations report on Korea that called for 'rolling back' North Korea. That such 'experts' had to turn the clock back 60 years to the vocabulary of the early Cold and Hot War in the Korean peninsula simply underscores the bankruptcy of intellectuals.
More, the trouble with the mainstream western media is that it treats each story as though it were created 'ex nihilo', and that nothing had existed before it appeared in print or on the radio or the telly or on the internet.
Kim Jong il is in Russia, then, for aid and assistance on mutually agreed projects benefitting North Korea and Russia. Russia--and China--has a finer political awareness that it is better to help North Korea develop than isolate it with more sanctions and a hot propaganda war which have gone few places in meeting goals.
The US and South Korea have painted themselves in a corner by pursuing hard line objectives which have earned them nothing but anger and frustration and endless bluster.
As long as the western media are prisoners of shopworn ideas, empty rumours about North Korea and Kim Jong il will abound.