fredag 17. desember 2021

Rollercoasters, horses and weight loss: 10 years of Kim Jong-un image politics

Three generations of the Kim family have ruled North Korea with absolute authority since 1948, and analysts say the regime has used carefully crafted images to ensure their power. Outsiders regard Kim as a ruthless tyrant with an undying obsession about developing the country’s nuclear weapons, even at the cost of starving the population. But North Korea’s tightly-controlled state media shows something softer: Kim caressing weeping orphans, being mobbed by gushing female soldiers, or smiling broadly on a mound of potatoes.

“The images that the regime chooses to disseminate and weave into Kim‘s hagiography say a lot about how Kim envisions North Korea’s future and his place in it,” wrote Jung Pak, now a US deputy assistant secretary of state, in a 2018 report before she took up her current post.