New Emissary

A North Korea Expo Exclusive

One mysterious event done and another big one on its way- the DPRK has been kept busy.

North Korea may be set to take global centre stage very soon, as speculation intensifies that it’s gearing up to hold a major event in which Kim Jong-il will name his successor. The front-runner to be named heir to the DPRK ‘throne’ currently appears to be his youngest son, Kim Jong-un—who nobody knows much about.

According to news reports, giant billboards in the isolated Asian nation have been put up, advertising an upcoming event that will be a conference for the nation’s top officials, or ruling Worker's Party (WPK), and claiming that it’s an occasion that will make the ‘country’s history shine forever.’

But earlier this week, North Korea took a smaller stage—at the Shanghai Expo, in which it is taking part in for the first time ever (no doubt to impress it’s quickly rising neighbour, China). And on September 6, to celebrate its national day, the country put on a singing and dancing ‘extravaganza,’ which reportedly included ‘heavily made-up men and women,’ performing traditional Korean folk dances and songs. However, the show was made available only to China’s state media and a few hand-picked guests, while foreign media and Expo attendees were cordoned off 200 meters from the action.

International media have also not been permitted to enter North Korea’s ‘Paradise of the People’ pavilion at the Expo, which apparently is themed on its ‘modern’ capital city, Pyongyang.

But interestingly (though not surprisingly), Chinese paper the People’s Daily’s coverage of the National Day performance is simply glowing, reporting that: ‘Pyongyang Art Troupe staged a wonderful at the Asia Plaza to mark it. They showed their traditional long-drum dance, fan dance and other dances with Korean characteristics. The artists from North Korea also sang many Chinese songs that were welcomed by many Chinese people.’