Live, From Pyongyang: Good Morning, Beijing!

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North Korea's coat of arms / Wiki

North Korea’s official propaganda arm will begin broadcasting its positive messages of peace and harmony (except where the U.S. is concerned, of course – check this out) in Chinese December 1. “It will contribute to boosting traditional friendship between the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and China,” the Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday, “and promoting the understanding of the DPRK by a great number of Chinese speaking population.”

Perhaps. But long-time Defense Intelligence Agency analyst John McCreary sees more than traditional friendship afoot. “Since the end of the Korean War, the North’s news agency has not carried a Chinese-language broadcast. The North never trusted the Chinese and had not reason to broadcast in Chinese language,” he writes in his NightWatch blog. “The obvious implication of the latest statement is that North Korea expects a significant influx of Chinese tourists and, perhaps, business people, which would justify a Chinese-language broadcast. This is a tectonic and strategic shift.” Bottom line, according to McCreary: “The Kim family evidently has decided to risk the future of North Korea on an economic and military partnership with China, for the first time since the Korean War, without Soviet mediation.”