The North Korean state newspaper admitted that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, could not give way after years of mythology.
The admission of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper is the latest sign that the country is moving away from the propaganda of myths about its leaders, and rather takes an approach that focuses on the humanization of the dictator, analysts said.
“In realistic terms, a person cannot suddenly disappear and reappear by folding space,” the newspaper said this week, denying that members of the Kim family are capable of “chukjibeop” – a hypothetical method of folding the space and quickly travel great distances.
In Korean, the term is translated as “magic narrowing the distance” and is akin to supernatural speed or teleportation.
Speaking on Thursday, a South Korean unification official said the secret regime’s tendency to demystify its leaders – Kim Jong Un and his father and former leader Kim Jong-il – is “remarkable”, according to the Yonhap news agency.
“He seems to be focusing on patriotism and love for the people rather than the hoax of the leaders. We will further analyze its implications, “the agency official said.
Since the failure to reach an agreement with US President Donald Trump at their second summit in Hanoi last year, Kim Jong Un has made efforts to show his more “human” side and urged people to do not mythologize it.
Pictured: Kim Jong Un apparently makes his first public appearance after 20 days of absence that sparked rumors about his health and suggestions that he had died from sloppy heart surgery
Speaking in March of last year after the failed talks, state media quoted Kim as saying, “To mystify revolutionary activity and the appearance of a leader would be to cover up for the truth.”
“Absolute loyalty would arise when (they) were fascinated by the leader humanly and fellowship,” he added.
Earlier this month, Kim Jong Un appeared to make his first public appearance after 20 days of absence, which sparked rumors about his health.
There were reports in April that he had had a heart operation, a Japanese newspaper said the operation had gone wrong and he was in a vegetative state. Other media have gone so far as to say that he was dead.
Since then, South Korean intelligence officials have said there was no sign that Kim Jong Un had undergone heart surgery, following rumors that he was “seriously ill” or even died after an operation.
However, Kim Jong Un has made an unusually low number of public appearances in the past two months, again spending three weeks without state media reporting his presence at a public event, analysts said, but could be due to coronavirus.
Addressing a parliamentary committee on May 6, the head of the South Korean intelligence agency, Suh Hoon, said there was no evidence that the rumors about Kim’s poor health were true.
“The NIS estimates that at least it has not had any cardiac surgery or surgery,” committee member Kim Byung-kee told reporters. “He normally performed his duties when he was out of public view. “
“At least there is no heart health problem.”
Since the failure to reach an agreement with US President Donald Trump at their second summit in Hanoi last year (photo, June 30, 2019), Kim Jong Un has made efforts to show his more “human” side “
But lawmakers said Kim Jong Un has only made 17 public appearances so far this year, compared to an average of 50 from previous years, which the NIS has attributed to a possible coronavirus outbreak in North Korea .
“Kim Jong Un has focused on consolidating internal affairs such as the military and party-state meetings, and concerns about the coronaviruses have further limited his public activity,” said Kim Byung-kee.
“Although North Korea maintains that there are no cases, it cannot be excluded that there is an epidemic there since it had active people-to-people exchanges with China before close the border in late January. “
Kim’s low profile comes as North Korea imposes anti-coronavirus measures, although the country says it has no confirmed cases and is following intense health speculation last month after missing a key anniversary.
Kim has appeared publicly four times in April and so far in May, up from 27 times in the same period last year.
Since taking office in 2011, the lowest number of previous public appearances that Kim has made in those months was 21 in 2017, according to a count by Chad O’Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group, an organization based in Seoul which follows North Korea.
“This is not a business as usual,” he said in a Twitter post this week.
North Korean central news agency photo shows Kim Jong Un (center photo, May 1) cutting a rib at a plant completion ceremony, marking his supposed first public appearance in 20 days
As a leader with near-absolute power over the 25.5 million people of North Korea and with access to a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, Kim’s health and whereabouts are often scrutinized by the community. to detect any sign of instability.
However, information in North Korea is tightly controlled, and independently confirmed details about Kim are almost nonexistent.
South Korean officials have said they believe Kim’s limited public appearances may be a precaution against coronavirus problems. North Korea has canceled, postponed or mitigated many large public gatherings due to the new coronavirus.
Asked about Kim’s absence, the South Korean unification ministry said on Friday that it was monitoring the situation, but noted that Kim was often out of public view.
Quoting an anonymous official from the South Korean government, the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo said that Kim could work from a privileged villa in Wonsan, on the coast.
But the North Korean leader can also simply focus on some of the national economic and political goals he set before the coronavirus crisis, said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a former government-run North Korean open source intelligence analyst American.
“COVID remains a major concern for the country, but state media coverage of COVID has decreased over the past month, so I don’t see the regime’s increased concern,” she said.
Friday marks three weeks since the last state media release of Kim’s images attending a public event.
North Korean state media reported that Kim attended the fertilizer plant opening ceremony on May 1. The appearance marked a reappearance for Kim, whose unprecedented absence from a big party on April 15 sparked weeks of international speculation about her health and whereabouts.
Since then, state media has broadcast a steady stream of stories about Kim sending or receiving letters and diplomatic correspondence, but has not shown him attending public events.
The North Korean media has been propagating myths about the Kim family for years, perpetuating the belief that they are capable of superhuman prowess. In the photo: residents of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, watch Kim Jong Un’s first alleged public appearance on large screens, on May 1
Kim Jong Un has made an unusually low number of public appearances this year. Experts believe it was due to Covid-19, although North Korea says it has not seen any virus despite its shared border with China, where the virus is believed to originate from
At the same time, North Korea has suspended talks with the United States until the results of the US presidential election in November are known, the Russian ambassador to Pyongyang told news agencies on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un three times at historic summits and has expressed admiration for him, although hopes for a comprehensive deal have faded.
“As for the dialogue with Washington, which they deem useless at the moment, it seems to have been postponed at least until the end of the US presidential election,” said Ambassador Alexander Matsegora to the Interfax news agency. in an interview.
“They will see what happens next,” he said.
North Korea has fired a series of rockets as it demands concessions from the Trump administration, which says international sanctions should remain until the regime completely denuclearizes.
Matsegora said he expects dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang will eventually resume, adding that Russia was not satisfied with the suspension of talks which could increase tension in the border region.
“Obviously, Moscow cannot be satisfied with the deep freeze on the US-North Korean dialogue, which is responsible for escalating tensions in the region adjacent to our far eastern border,” he said.
The ambassador also criticized US sanctions against North Korea which he said are hampering the supply of essential medical equipment to Pyongyang.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for sanctions relief during the coronavirus pandemic in March, telling G20 leaders it was a “life and death” issue.
Matsegora said sanctions block the supply of drugs and medical equipment to North Korea and that Washington “tracks down anyone who has at least a little bit of trade with North Korea, even if completely harmless things are provided” .