North Korea

Is he or isn't he? State media are playing dumb when it comes to Kim's trip

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 May, 2010, 12:00am


Related topics

Is Kim Jong-il really on the mainland? The Foreign Ministry would not give out any clues despite repeated questions from the international media.

'There is nothing I can tell you at the moment,' was the line spokeswomen Jiang Yu stuck to, no matter how journalists phrased their questions.

There was no sign of North Korea's flag along Changan Avenue even though China's diplomatic protocol normally dictates that the road, which goes through the heart of the capital, be decked with the flags of the guest leader's country.

China Central Television and Xinhua have also remained silent, withdrawing from the media circus which has seen the international press compete for proof that Kim is in China.

Newspapers targeting international readers such as the China Daily and the Global Times filled their pages with news on Kim's reported trip, but they only sourced foreign media.

However, there have been some signs that Kim was in the country after pictures of him appeared and roadblocks were set up along the roads he reportedly passed through.

Information on Kim's visits is normally only released after he leaves - a practice that a mainland journalist and a scholar said was requested by Pyongyang.

'We cannot not file anything before he leaves because the North Korean government requested it,' a journalist from Xinhua said.

Professor Liu Ming, director of Korean Peninsular Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said China had agreed to the 'special protocol' because of North Korea's 'special status'.

'North Korea has a special history and political relationship with China, so Beijing agreed to this request,' Liu said.