The North Korean authorities are devoting their energies to giving the impression that Kim Jong Eun is the ‘noble leader of the North Korean people.’
Contrasting the impression given off throughout his father’s leadership, Kim Jong Eun seems to be being presented as a more personally engaged ruler, someone who really cares for them. The young man has recently conducted onsite guidance visits at myriad sites related to the people’s livelihoods; factories and day care centers, for exmaple. Naturally, the whole nine yards is carefully covered by North Korean media.
Additionally, quotations from Kim are being diligently recorded and released, with his insights tending to emphasize the importance of the people's future wellbeing.
The most famous example of this effort to show the new leader’s direct interest in his people’s wellbeing occurred in May, when Kim scolded cadres during a visit to an amusement park in Pyongyang. Chosun Central News Agency, Chosun Central TV, Chosun Central Broadcast, Pyongyang Broadcast and other North Korean state media all subsequently aired footage of Kim pulling weeds from the road under his feet as he berated flustered park officials with the classic proverb, “It’s always darkest directly under the candle”. Kim Jong Il, although nit afraid of issuing brutal criticism, tended not to be reported upon doing so.
Reports of Kim's activities have continued into this month. On July 4th, Rodong Shinmun, in an article entitled “Touchstone”, said, “This year, respected comrade Kim Jong Eun has given onsite guidance at many places which show his regard for the people’s livelihoods.”
In another piece, ‘Going among the People,’ Rodong Shinmun stated, “Dear comrade Kim Jong Eun has always lifted the people up high, magnifying his love for them.”
Just a few days ago, 24 days after he last appeared in public, Kim Jong Eun’s first act was to visit the newly built Rungra resort in the middle of the Taedong River. He also visited the Breast Cancer Institute of Pyongyang Maternity Hospital to observe progress on its construction. On the 3rd, he visited a hosiery factory in Pyongyang, as well as a local children’s department store.
Kim’s love for his people is apparently a key item on the educational agenda in study sessions, too.
Kim Kwang In, the director of the North Korea Strategy Center, believes this reliance is at least partly down to the lack of alternatives, and partly down to the need to hark back to the days of Kim Il Sung.
In other words, “They are bringing back the nostalgia of the Kim Il Sung era to secure the legitimacy of the Kim Jong Eun leadership. Due to a lack of substantial improvement in food shortages and living situations, even more focus is being put on fostering his image.”
The conditions are working in Kim’s favor, he went on, pointing out, “External information is still under control and the political consciousness of the people is limited, so, to some extent, such propaganda is effective.”