Kim Jong-il is in China right now
, meeting with the regional power who continue to prop up his North Korean regime for the sake of their own security. The linked-to Times
article has some analysis, as does Nothing to Envy
author Barbara Demick for the LA Times
. Here at The Measure, meanwhile, we're mostly just excited—as we are whenever Kim emerges from his poured-concrete bubble
—for the release of a new batch of news-agency photos of Dear Leader. Given that Kim's power depends on the absolute control of all information, and given hotly circulating rumors of ill-health (and body doubles
!) we jump all over ourselves to divine from these geopolitical tea leaves the current state of North Korea. (This is a common tactic for covering a closed country
Even in China, it is far more difficult than in North Korea to control the news entirely: though Kim is said to have traveled to China in a convoy including a bus, limos, and a 17-car armored train, and though China gamely instituted a media blackout and closed roads along Kim's route, a photographer for Japan's Kyodo News managed to snap several photos.
As you can see, Kim Jong-il's carefully maintained image of hale health and stability is just a facade, a flimsy cover-up easily seen around. It's Potemkin hair! North Korea is on the verge of collapse.