North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a machine factory in Sinuiju on Sept. 3, 2015, the day when he was conspicuously absent from China’s military parade on Tiananmen Square (photo: dpa)

How stable is the North Korean government?

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is in an appalling condition. Not only are its civilians starved, but its armed forces are extremely short of food as well. Soldiers regularly steal food from farmers and even elite border guard troops need to invent ways of feeding themselves. When they began venturing across the border into China in order to thieve money and food, occasionally killing Chinese citizens in the process, Beijing officially complained to Pyongyang – but to no avail. The incidents angered the Chinese and strained their relations with North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un. It became publicly evident in Beijing in early September 2015.

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 Kati Kang
The Chinese understood that by sending that man, Kim had meant to add insult to injury. To Beijing, such behaviour by Kim amounted to betrayal
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