In North Korea, a leader's image is linked to grandfather's
March 29th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

In North Korea, a leader's image is linked to grandfather's

by Adam Levine

The North Korean government's efforts to craft an image for new leader Kim Jong Un is an endless source of fascination.

The leadership transition was in the works even before the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong Il, and the U.S. government is "watching this transition closely," according to Gen. James Thurman, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, in testimony to the House Armed Services Wednesday.

Thurman outlined in his written statement to the committee how North Korea was preparing for the transition "two to three years" ago by naming Kim Jong Un to government posts, giving him the rank of general in the Korean People's Army and "transferring responsibility to him for management of the country."

Thurman wrote that before his death, Kim Jong Il appointed regime elites loyal to the Kim family - with most of the appointees in their 70s or 80s - to Kim Jong Un's inner circle to "strengthen the new ruler's hand" and ease his transition.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the transition is how North Korea's government is trying to make the most of the fact that the new leader looks a lot like his revered grandfather:

"It also appears that that the regime is making a concerted effort to capitalize on Kim Jong Un's remarkable resemblance to his late grandfather, Kim Il Sung, North Korea's revered ruler from the post-World War Two era until his death in 1994," Thurman wrote.

"State-controlled media images have shown Kim Jong Un with swept-back hair and dressed in Maoist suits very similar to those popularized by Kim Il Sung - a carefully stage-managed effort to help the relatively inexperienced Kim Jong Un garner the same adulation the populace had bestowed upon his grandfather."

The leadership transition, Thurman adds, is "proceeding without discernible internal challenges" and with political and economic from the Chinese.

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong-un • Military • North Korea • Thurman • US Forces Korea
soundoff (18 Responses)
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    October 15, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Reply
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    July 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  7. EatYouAlive

    That is NOT a dude.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  8. Frank

    millions of people and many post on different channels or web sites! I wonder if north korea sees the posts or comments that people make on the america computer? una,duo,set,net dasu,yasu, chang!

    March 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      "...make on the american computer..."


      March 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  9. Kimi

    All hail the Supreme Munchkin, our fearless and grate Leeder. May he always rest amiongst us bekauz hee iss grate.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:21 am | Reply
  10. KIM IS GAY

    look at this fat retard ugly excuse for life why haven't these people taken care of there government already. I hope kim chokes on his sack of fat!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  11. Frank

    Only way I see trust with north korea is they look at themselves where they been and where they want to go with the rest of the free world and decide to change thier ways to allow a democractic system be a part of thier country or at least govern thier own laws withen thier country and abide with the rest of the free world and stop making weapons of mass destruction or trying to be sneaky about it and allow un inspectors monitor thier country and activities 24 /7 and control thier own population growth and maybe even join european space agency to explore the many possible planets outside our solar system or withen our solar order to survive in the future or eventually death will be thier end if they don't change for to many times they been heading toward death with thier nuclear program and weapon program! The world has changed and they been hiding behind a wall! The german wall has been taken down and they need to take down thier wall!

    March 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  12. Valhalla

    At least he got a free BOWL OF SOUP with the haircut!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  13. D, Smith

    Where does the new guy get his hair cut? Petsmart?

    March 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply

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