This is a cross-post from A Rabbit’s Eye View of the Hyperborean North.
… because the Supreme Leader eats them for himself.
Beijing has found itself with somewhat of a tar-baby in the form of Kim Jong-Il, after the sinking in May of the Cheonan, a ROK warship. Presumably unable to publically rebuke the almost certain culprits in Pyongyang and encourage any widening of pro-Western influence in the peninsular, the preferred response has been accuse Washington DC of hypocrisy over its differing responses to the lethal boarding by Israeli Commandos off the Gazan coast, and the Cheonan.
(The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates responded to General Zhu Chenghu that the hostile sinking of a warship by another military was not comparable to enforcing a coastal blockade.)
With the internal economy so poor in the DPRK, enterprise has to be sought abroad such as the entertainment industry in Australia and the defence industry, and rare admissions of policy failure have been made. Illegal traffiking along the Chinese border has been known to have been going on for several years, with shootings by DPRK soldiers of Chinese citizens not being uncommon.
This makes Beijing’s public rebuke, as reported in the Guardian, following the shooting dead of three and wounding of one other on 4 June on the Yalu River all the more unusual.
“It is rare for China to publicly complain. Usually there is a private apology or money paid,” said Kim Heung Gwang, a former North Korean college professor and head of Seoul-based North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity.
The Guardian also stated that the men were known copper smugglers from Dandong (site of the Friendship Bridge between China and the DPRK, in the photograph) and were shot as they approached the DPRK city of Sonuiju. I understand that this is a highly populated water-front in which tourists to Dandong often hire speed-boats to whizz by Sonuju.
Maybe, at last, Beijing is tiring of Kim Jong-Il’s barbaric histrionics, and is beginning to reign him in.
In other news, the Daily Telegraph prints a presumed photograph of the Heir Apparent during his heady student days in Switzerland. Maybe he would nip across the border with Austria for a quick bite to eat.