North Korean strategy – Mystery woman and Mickey Mouse new chapter?

Is the kid leading North Korea married? If not, who’s the woman next to him watching a show in Pyongyang featuring imitation Disney characters? Devote 4 minutes to watching Wall Street Journals’ Isabella Steger and Alastair Gale in Seoul analysing what happened:

This is such an unusual subject I can’t help loving it. How often do we get gossip out of North Korea? Or any information for that matter? A bit of “celebrity” gossip makes North Korea seem a bit more normal, doesn’t it?

Or is a strategy behind it all? He has after all fired the top military chief, Ri Yong-ho, and removed him from all official posts only seven months after taking over as head of state. Wrote a post two years ago Could a “Deng Xiaoping” surface in North Korea?”. Maybe Kim Jong Eun is Pyongyang’s answer to Deng?

Light gossip for the summer

Almost makes me believe I’m reading Hello magazeine but it’s actually The Wall Street Journal speculating if the woman on Kim Jong Eun’s right is the first lady. Or maybe his sister? Can’t help thinking about when former French president Sarkozy met Carla Bruni. Is he or isn’t he dating her – the same kind of speculation. Like the Sarkozys, the young leader of North Korea went to school in Europe.  But that’s where the similarity ends unless, like them, he’s married.

Unfortunately there’s a sinister twist

The kid dictator is said to be following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps with public executions, sending people to political prisons and ordering assassinations of defectors. Not to mention developing more missiles and nuclear weapons. And that the woman next to Kim Jong Eun should be able to have a positive influence on him is unlikely. Or maybe it isn’t? The fact that light entertainment in Pyongyang is broadcast to the world is a novelty.

Opening up to the world?

Maybe the kid is interested in breaking his country’s isolation? Apparently he is urging North Koreans to use the internet and keep up to date on global trends. Nice touch, catch is censorship in North Korea is bound to make China seem liberal. From what I understand his grandfather Kim Il Sung gave an abundance of interviews to foreign journalists and, surprise surprise, loved being photographed kissing babies. Apparently his grandson is a spitting image making some older North Koreans cry and long for the past.

The second coming of Kim Il Sung?

But maybe it’s not just the looks that are similar? Is it possible that Kim Jong Eun has the same kind of stragegy as grandpa? North Korean media, correctly or not, hail him as the second coming of his grandfather. If so, there will be a lot of kissing babies on North Korean television, not to mention Mickey Mouse shows. The strategy will be a treat for a starving population watching their leader applauding on television, make them happier and, hopefully, fill their stomachs as well. It’s bound to be easier to handle hunger if you have just seen Kim Jong Eun watching a show.

Irony aside, if Kim Jong Eun’s strategy is to open up North Korea to the world maybe we could be cautiously optimistic. But wouldn’t it be better if he started by feeding his own people and giving them, at least basic, human rights? That would definitely be a better strategy if North Korea wants to join the international community.

Do you agree with me that it was interesting to have a bit of gossip out of North Korea? Is Kim Jong Eun trying to break the isolation his country is in? Is he married? Or was it just his sister? Could she have a positive influence on him? Will television shows with cartoons make it easier for the people in North Korea to be hungry? Would the world be a better place if North Korea broke it’s isolation and started cooperating with the rest of the world? Or are you of the opinion that it’s good to have an evil empire to keep the world on its toes? What do you think is the strategy behind suddenly, for the first time, having a women sitting next to the leader? And where does Mickey Mouse and light entertainment come in? Perhaps show that North Korea is just like the rest of the world? Or maybe it’s all just irrelevant?

Video: WSJDigitalNetwork – You Tube

21 thoughts on “North Korean strategy – Mystery woman and Mickey Mouse new chapter?

        1. Have also met Tibetans in India and Nepal. And met the Dalai Lama in London. Was merely wondering if you had been to Tibet recently. From what I understand their culture was eroded years ago.

  1. It's a sad truth about this media saturated age that the public will readily devour whatever images they are fed even when their leader's actions show otherwise. Such "Mickey Mouse" gossip will make North Korea seem less isolated, but not for the right reasons.
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    1. Glad you agree with me Jeri. But don't forget that nothing ever stays the same. Many analysts doubt that the young generation of affluent North Koreans who are educated in the West are not keen on staying isolated. Another positive sign is that China is demanding that North Korea change into a market oriented economy. If China stop supporting North Korea they will have to change.

  2. Interesting to see that NK having fun with Mickey mouse. They did violate the copyright by doing so is more interesting. (That is what I heard on the news…)So, with the showing off, are they asking the world," what are you going to do with us…"
    We can ignore the sufferings of human beings while guessing about the lady with the ruler….
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    1. Bindhurani, there is no way copyright law can be implemented in North Korea. They do what they want in that respect.

      Glad you agree with me that the suffering of the people should take priority. However, it seems things are changing in North Korea. Let's hope the new ruler will start a new chapter.

  3. It is all very interesting but what does it really say about NK. You have got to love the mystery and gossip. However, I can't imagine the event not being well thought out and orchestrated to show something to the world and to their people. The question is what. Time will show us more.
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    1. Well Susan, it looks like the kid dictator is starting to change things in North Korea. Not least firing the military chief today. He has some kind of plan and my hope is that he will turn into a "Deng Xiaoping" and turn his country into a modern country with its finances in order. It can be done. Remember what China was like before Deng took over.

      1. I find this all very encouraging. All things change with time. It is my deepest hope that NK can move in a direction that will feed and help it's people, becomes a positive contributor to world stage and find peace with other countries. That is a tall order.
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        1. Agree with you Susan that all things change with time.

          North Korea will not be isolated from the world forever. That's impossible. A country so poor they cannot even feed their people has no long term future. Short term they manage by carrying out all kinds of illegal activities. So let's hope the new ruler understands that. He did, after all, go to school in Switzerland so he knows what how a "normal" country functions. Actually, there is no doubt in my mind that he understand that things have to change. Hopefully he has the power to do so.

          Here's what analysts in Seoul says about the military chief being sacked:

          Some analysts, saying Ri appeared relatively healthy in recent photographs, suggested the move could be the result of a power struggle within the elite, with speculation focusing on a rising power player named Choe Ryong-hae. “It is possible that Choe tried to put the military under his control and Ri resisted, and that the latter was removed from his post as a result,” Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute told by South Korean daily The Korea Times.

          Hopefully it's not silly issues like that behind the changes taking place. But then again, it wouldn't surprise me.

    1. True Keyuri. But things are changing and he's only been in power for 7 months. Maybe he has realised the best way forward is to do to North Korea what Deng Xiaoping did to China? That would make a huge difference to not only North Korea but the world.

  4. As you say, it's going to be interesting to see how things progress. He's also just removed the top military official so this may be the start of some significant change. Whether for better or worse remains to be seen, of course.

    I guess the question is whether the military have been dictating his policies to date and this change at the top will mean liberalisation, or if it's simply a case of putting his own people in so that he can ensure his position and continue with the draconian policies of his family before him.

    1. Yes Guy, read that today as well. The head of the army sacked. He's making changes. For better or for worse remains to be seen. The positive aspect is that he went to school in Europe and has hence seen how democratic countries work.

  5. Hi Catarina,

    He actually looks like a kid and I read somewhere that they had a romance in the past but his father didn't approve. There you go more gossip. I think they are trying to orchestrate it but somehow it just looks awkward. Will be interesting to see how it progresses.

  6. Unfortunately all we have is speculation. We rarely have anything else. It would seem that whatever they allow us to see of them is choreographed for us. In this case we get lots of questions and no answers. I suspect that they like it that way.
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