Harbinger or Hoax: A New Painting of Kim Jong Un?
38 North, 12/2010, U.S.-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
6 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 8, 2010
Ever since Kim Jong Un was introduced to the public in late September 2010 — when he was first promoted to the rank of general and then received a number of important posts in the ruling Korean Workers’ Party — we have been waiting to get the first insights into how the youngest son of Kim Jong Il will be fitted into the ideological system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). To most North Koreans, he emerged almost out of nowhere; hence the DPRK’s propaganda apparatus now needs to present a convincing story to solidify his legitimacy as the next top leader. Much more than a purely academic question for Pyongyang watchers or another expression of a bizarre Stalinist cult of personality, this is one of the key issues that will determine political faith in Kim Jong Un. More importantly, it will be a major factor in determining the future of North Korea, which is of course of great concern to its neighbors, the United States, and the international community. Accordingly, even the slightest development regarding the role of Kim Jong Un has to be taken very seriously. However, due care must be taken also that we do not only see what we want to see.
Keywords: Korean Studies, East Asian Studies, Korea (North and/or South), North Korea (politics and society)
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