Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh Kim, Where Art Thou?

North Korea Leadership Watch has a piece out today asking the mildly interesting question, "Where is Kim Jong Un?"

The point of the question is, as the piece notes, that young Kim has not made a public appearance for the 20 days since he rocked up at Kim Il Sung Stadium to wow the massed ranks of the Chosun Children's Union on June 7th. This causes the author to ponder aloud whether Kim might, or might not, be doing something fabulously exciting and oh-so under the radar. As follows;
"...one would think, given joint US-ROK military exercises under way in the West (Yellow) Sea timed for the 62nd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean (Fatherland Liberation) War, KJU would want to wave the banner. This week also marks the six months since he formally assumed the position of supreme leader, as well as his mother’s birthday. Has Kim Jong Un decamped for one of the Kims’ special pavilions to relax? Has the horrid reality of sitting in the party center resorted him to issuing instructions from bed? Is he enduring an excruciating policymaking process with a coterie of sangmujo?"

Yet the reality is that the Kims never do go around "waving the flag" when there are U.S.-South Korea military exercises going on. After all, there is a propaganda narrative  in play here, and it is that the exercises are being undertaken by the imperialists and their "south" Chosun lackies for the purpose of invading the North. It would not make a great deal of sense for this to inspire the supreme leader, whose very self must be protected come hell or high water, especially high water, to rush around hither and thither making public appearances, especially the kind of infantilizing jaunts to local funfairs that have been his stock-in-trade since April 15th.

Not only that; it is common knowledge that Kim's mother Koh Young Hee represents a not insubstantial propaganda headache for those charged with keeping the regime on-message due to her Zainichi-Korean roots. Indeed, discussion of her history is said to be a no-no even within Chongryon, the organization nominally established to support Zainichi-Korean society in Japan. Based upon which, does it seem all that probable that the anniversary of her birth would inspire the whippersnapper to embark upon some form of grand cake-cutting ceremony in Kim Il Sung Square? Perhaps not.

Finally, last but not least, when was the last time the North Korean regime engaged in the celebration of a six-month anniversary? 100 days? Perhaps so. The 환갑 (60th birthday)? Goodness me yes. But six-months? I imagine they only knew because North Korea Leadership Watch told them...

All in all, I think that if I were Kim then I, too, would be out of town just now.

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