North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Jong Un’s Publicity Campaign

The DPRK is reportedly stepping up its publicity campaign in support of the hereditary succession of Kim Jong Un.  Previous reports about Jong Un propaganda efforts claimed that several million official portraits were produced for distribution to DPRK citizens.  In January of this year, events were held to celebrate Kim Jong Un’s official 8 January birthday.  There have also been reports that a Jong Un historic site was under construction, along with a railway line extension, in Kangdong County, Pyongyang.

Korea Times citing Open Radio for North Korea reports that a permanent museum exhibition about Kim Jong Un was completed in Pyongyang.

The Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based broadcaster, reported Tuesday that the Joseon Revolutionary Museum in Pyongyang opened up a brand new permanent exhibition on Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s third son, in a move to build up a personality cult as a leader.

Quoting an anonymous source from North Korea, the radio said the “Kim Jong-un Room” filled with photos of him in uniform and other items was opened in July, and top party and military officials visited there.

“It will probably open to the public next year around his birthday which is Jan. 8,” the source was quoted as saying.

Kim Jong Un attending a commemorative photo session at Kumsusan in September 2010 (Photo: KCNA)

Chosun Ilbo citing RFA reports about a television documentary extolling Kim Jong Un’s intellectual and management abilities, aired as part of celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party.  Another anecdote concerns the distribution by the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea of a  publication on Jong Un’s agricultural abilities.  Jong Un has been observed as a member of KJI retinue throughout 2009.

“According to the program, Kim Jong-un is a genius with a thorough knowledge of politics, the economy, culture, history and military affairs and is able to speak many foreign languages,” the source said. It said he mastered English, German, French and Italian during his studies abroad and is learning Chinese, Japanese and Russian despite his busy schedule helping his father lead the country.”

The broadcast also claimed North Korea became a “self-sufficient” nuclear power because of Kim Jong-un’s firm resolve to build up the North’s ability to counter other nuclear powers with equal strength. According to the broadcast, Kim realized the importance of nuclear weapons when he learned about the wars launched by the U.S. and its “imperialist allies.”

Another source from North Hamgyong Province said the federation of farmers passed out material praising Kim Jong-un’s skills and urging farmers to create a new agricultural revolution under his guidance. “The material described an inspection trip by Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un to an agricultural commune in 2008, where the younger Kim surprised experts by spontaneously coming up with a microbial fertilizer that could improve the quality of soil,” the source said, and claimed farmers who used it were able to “miraculously” harvest 15 tons of wheat per 9,917 sq. m of farmland.

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