Chinese Official Airbrushed Out of N.Korean Record

      January 11, 2016 13:27

      In further signs of strain between North Korea and its sole ally China, Pyongyang has edited a senior Chinese apparatchik out of file footage of a massive military parade last year.

      The segment, part of a program Saturday on state-run [North] Korean Central TV to hail and praise the achievements of last year, shows six shots of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watching the Oct. 10 parade marking the Workers Party's 70th anniversary. Next to Kim at the event stood Liu Yunshan, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee China had dispatched to the event.

      At the time Liu was considered senior enough to herald a thaw in relations, and he chatted amiably with Kim during the event.

      Liu Yunshan, a member of the Chinese Politburo Standing Committee, stands next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during an event marking the North Korean Workers Party's 70th anniversary in Pyongyang on Oct. 10, 2015 in original footage from [North] Korean Central TV (left), but absent from the edited footage shown Saturday.

      But the edited version shows only Army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so standing next to Kim. And where the original footage showed Liu smiling as he sat next to Kim during a performance that evening, the new edit shows only Kim.

      A film editor here has examined the film and says Liu seems to have been edited out completely.

      At the time Liu's arrival was big news in the North, and a photo of Kim and Liu waving at the parade was splashed over the front page of the North's official Rodong Sinmun daily.

      But Pyongyang is peeved that China has come out increasingly firmly against its nuclear program and developed cozy ties with South Korea. Last week's nuclear test drew only a curt condemnation from Beijing, without the usual equivocation and appeals to "all parties."

      Cho Han-bum at the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "It looks like North Korea is extremely displeased by China's response to its purported hydrogen bomb test."

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