A piece of news from North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNP) yesterday was hard to miss:

“Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un received a floral basket from the Russian embassy here on the occasion of the first anniversary of his visit to the Russian Federation.”

Giving floral baskets for occasions seem to be common in North Korea. If you search KCNP archives, you could find many stories of floral baskets being presented to the Supreme Leader. Something like this:

However, the timing of this basket could not have been more peculiar. A few friends in China see this as a Russian attempt to test what is really going on with the Supreme Leader. Any response is carefully recorded and analysed.

What is even more peculiar is the blunder KCNP made on its Chinese language site. Instead of “floral basket” (花篮) it uses “wreath” (花圈).

Must be an imperialist plot, or someone is in deep trouble.

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