GIS Expert Kati Kang shares her insights into North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s weird, wild and sometimes frightening style of geopolitical maneuvering
Kim Watch: Army men
The impeachment of South Korea's president has Kim Jong-un looking longingly across the border. For now, the North Korean leader has busied himself with staging mock commando assaults on a replica of the presidential palace in Seoul. But he would clearly like to do much more.
Kim Watch: How China sold out its coal industry
A senior American diplomat let slip that North Korea makes $1 billion a year on coal exports, mostly to China. That will come as a surprise to anyone who puts faith in UN sanctions to block Pyongyang's nuclear program. It is also grim news for Chinese coal producers, who are on the verge of financial collapse.
Kim Watch: a fisherman’s reincarnation
The Chinese are angry over Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. THAAD missile system. The move is clearly aimed at defending South Korea from the North, but still threatens China’s strategic interests. And who benefits? Kim Jong-un, of course.
Kim Watch: North Korea’s special present for China
On July 28, 2016, five armed North Korean soldiers crossed the border into China to steal food and money. It was the biggest group of North Korean soldiers to cross the border for robbery so far. During an exchange of gunfire between the two countries, two Chinese border guards were seriously injured; several more were wounded. Two of the North Korean soldiers were captured.
Kim Watch: A gentleman’s revenge
In early June, Chinese authorities arrested a North Korean man in the northeastern city of Dandong. The sting occurred just a few days after Ri Su-yong, a senior North Korean envoy, had visited Beijing requesting food aid for his country. When Chinese security officials searched the North Korean man’s apartment, they found 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) in cash and a number of gold bars.
Kim Watch: Children donate ‘bullets’
June 1 is Children’s Day in many countries around the world, including China and North Korea. In both countries, children enjoy the day off from the pressure of daily school life. In North Korea however, they are under a different kind of pressure. This year, North Korean children have been given a mission: to contribute metal for their “Great Marshal” Kim’s missile program.
Kim Watch: Kim Jong-un, master manipulator
Ri Su-yong, a senior North Korean envoy, made a highly publicized visit to Beijing on May 31, 2016. On the same day, Pyongyang attempted to launch a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile in the direction of the Sea of Japan. The test reportedly failed, but the real goal was to test Chinese leaders’ patience.