As the guillotine of debt contagion hangs over Europe, financial pressures in Asia have led an unexpected player to make a strategic shift. After months of escalating tensions with South Korea have shuttered its opportunities for expanded trade southwards, Pyongyang has turned north, launching several high profile initiatives to secure Chinese and Russian participation in new trade and investment schemes, and firm up the two countries' support for Kim Jong Il's succession plans.

With Pyongyang fast-tracking these projects at the highest levels, it's now a serious question whether this marks the beginning of the end for North Korea's economic isolation and a major step towards the creation of a transnational northeast shipping hub with the potential to rival the export power of the Yangtze delta region. Joining host Jeremy Goldkorn to talk about what this means for China watchers are three of the smartest observers of the East Asian security situation today: Edward Wong from the New York Times, Alexa Olesen from the Associated Press and Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt from the International Crisis Group. With all three fresh back from a fact-finding mission to North Korea, join us on Sinica today for some candid discussion about what is happening on the ground, along with some scintillating gossip on the latest tourist for the Wenzhou investment class: luxury boat cruises along the North Korean coast.

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 said on
September 16, 2011
Also discussed - Paul French's new book Midnight in Beijing:

 said on
September 16, 2011
It is like Christmas today.... Here are some more excellent pieces from Stephanie and the International Crisis Group that set the stage for the last few weeks. For anyone trying to bring themselves up to date on what is going on, these provide a lot of the backdrop on worsening South-North relations, as well as China's high-level hedging and diplomatic responses to developments:

Who Shapes China's North Korean Policy? []

Despite Reports, China's North Korea Policy Remains the Same []

China and Inter-Korean Clashes in the Yellow Sea []

Shades of Red: China's Debate over North Korea []

Strangers at Home: North Koreans in the South []

 said on
December 19, 2011
End of an era? Kim Jong Il is reported dead:
 said on
January 15, 2013
Eric Schmidt of Google was recently in North Korea to talk technology and infrastructure. The New Yorker has a short piece about his trip--written by friend of Sinica Evan Osnos:
Mark Lesson Studied