Then North Korea - long the de facto colonial regime dependent on the Chinese Communist Party to survive - tried to launch an ICBM (Epoch Times). The rest is forgotten history.
That it took a matter of hours before the CCP was running interference for their Korean viceroy (Guardian, UK) should surprise no one. While the launch had been planned for some time - and the date more than likely given the OK by Beijing to divert attention from the customary April day to honor the dead - the actual firing of the missile was a geopolitical godsend to the Communists.
Consider the world the cadres were facing before Kim Jong-il distracted everyone. Australia was transforming itself from an "engagement" success story into the new anti-Communist hotbed (Agence France Presse and Epoch Times). Making matters worse, the CCP's cyberwarfare against the United States was convincing Americans that perhaps Beijing was not the friend it claims to be after all (David Gelernter, in Forbes, actually used the favorite phrase of this quarter - Cold War II). One of the leading organizations defending the persecuted Uighurs of occupied East Turkestan announced the date for their annual meeting - inside the U.S. Capitol (McClatchy).
Meanwhile, the news from within was equally bad. A leading shipping firm announced a cutback for the first time ever (Steel Guru). The chairman of its first "private" railroad company was jailed for embezzlement (AFP). Dissident groups came together to indict the CCP for its crimes against the Chinese people (China Aid). A factory closure lead 1,000 laid off workers to march into Beijing in protest (AFP). Questions about Gao Zhisheng refuse to go away (New Yorker).
All of this was crowding for the attention of the CCP, the Chinese people, and the rest of the world - before the Korean colony blew it all off the front page. Now, once again, the CCP is the indispensable force, the regime to which the world must come and pay "respect" in the hopes that it will once again corral Kim Jong-il and get him to behave. Meanwhile, "engagement" supporters will be sure to do Beijing's bidding against anyone who refuses to fall for this nonsense and is determined to press the CCP.
In some places, however, the act is waring thin. While President Obama appears willing to keep playing the game, the fellow who won nearly 60,000,000 votes running against him has had enough (Voice of America).
More ominously, however, is the response of the Iranian mullahcracy:
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran said on Monday that North Korea was justified in carrying out its controversial weekend rocket launch and denied there were any links between the two countries' missile programmes.
"We have always maintained that space can be used for peaceful purposes by adhering to international laws," foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters when asked about Sunday's controversial rocket launch.
"As it is our right to do so, we maintain that others also have that right."
This matters for two reasons. The first and most obvious is the mullahs' desire to become a nuclear-armed state. The second reason, however, is just as important - Tehran's alliance to Beijing.
Lest anyone forget, as the mullahs close in on their first nuclear test, the calendar is closing in on the most dangerous anniversary for the cadres: the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. Once more, the CCP faces the world remembering how it (the CCP) let its military loose on the Chinese people and painted the streets of Beijing in blood. The memory will lead the free world to recoil in horror. Even worse, it will lead to the inevitable examination of the two decades since, and how the regime is still the tyranny it was then, with broken promises about international trade and cooperation to boot.
It is sure to be a harrowing, painful day for the CCP - unless their friends in Tehran pull their own nuclear distraction.
In other words, this week is merely a preview of what we can expect in about two months time - and it will be just as maddening then, too.