It was announced today that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is no longer a Communist country. The constitution has been amended, and Communism has been completely purged in deference to the "military-first" ideology of Kim Jong-il. Moreover, Kim's power has been increased, and he is now Supreme Leader (and not just "Dear Leader").
Does this actually mean anything? I'm not at all sure. It is hard to get any kind of objective analysis on what is going on inside North Korea--everything that is available is pure conjecture. My guess is that it is merely trying to prop up the overall image of Kim prior to his death, to insure more legitimacy for his third son, who is expected to succeed him.
In more substantive NORK news, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (probably China's #2 government official, after Hu Jintao) will be going to Pyongyang soon. It is thought that this meeting will include the announcement of progress on the nuclear talks. On the other hand, I think it's entirely possible that it will give Wen the chance to try to talk sense into Kim. I think we'll just have to see.
But I'm also curious as to how China feels about North Korea's renouncement of Communism. Not that China is really Communist anymore, but it is still technically Communist. I think China is pragmatic enough to ignore it, but it is still a touch vexing.