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May 25, 2011


Washington Post: In China, Kim Jong Il studies the reforms he’s spent decades resisting

"TOKYO — North Korea’s leader traveled through China this week to observe the very economic reforms that he has resisted for decades. Chauffeured in an armored train and convoy of black Audi sedans, Kim Jong Il toured an automobile factory, a solar panel plant and a discount store, where he reportedly inquired about cooking oil but didn’t buy anything. Kim’s fling with Chinese commercialism — capped by a sit-down Wednesday in Beijing with Chinese President Hu Jintao — fostered the latest hopeful talk that North Korea will open the world’s most controlled economy. For outside analysts, though, the trip revealed the odd stagecraft North Korea must perform as it bluffs interest in reform and then converts China’s approval into the aid and diplomatic support Kim needs to keep his country intact."
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