Are They Playing His Song?

New York Philharmonic arrives in Pyongyang
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2008 5:00 PM CST

(Newser) – As the New York Philharmonic arrived in Pyongyang today, Kim Jong-Il still hadn't indicated whether he would attend the orchestra's historic concert, Reuters reports. ”It's kind of a win-win for Kim Jong-Il,” says a scholar of North Korean propaganda, because the visit will likely be portrayed as a sign of the West’s capitulation to the iron-willed dictator whether he turns up or not.

“If he attends, they are playing for him. If he stays away, then he is snubbing them. If he turns up late, he could have it both ways.” An unprecedented number of journalists—about 80—will be allowed into the country to cover the concert. Unlike Korean citizens, they're allowed to use mobile phones and the internet.