fredag 17. desember 2021

Kim Jong-un: N Korean defectors reflect on last decade

It's 10 years since an untested 27-year-old took power in North Korea and in that time few world leaders have generated as many headlines. But what has it been like living under Kim Jong-un? The sound of wailing filled the streets of Pyongyang. Students in their school uniforms fell to their knees and appeared inconsolable. Women were pictured clutching their hearts in despair.

The tightly controlled North Korean state media had announced that Kim Jong-il, their "dear leader", had died at the age of 69. It was 19 December 2011. Around the world, Korean analysts rushed to their desks to pull out their files on one man: Kim Jong-un.

At the age of just 27 he was the so-called Great Successor. But few thought he would succeed at anything. How could a society which rewards age and experience be ruled by someone who had neither? Many predicted a military coup, or a takeover by North Korean elites. But the world underestimated the young dictator. Kim Jong-un has not only cemented his position, he has ushered in a new era called "Kim Jong-unism".