Who needs hype around DPRK leader?

Originally published in Pravda (ru)

Alexander ZhebinAlexander Zhebin, head of the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shared his thoughts about the Western media hype around DPRK top leader's health.

The front pages of world media are heavily occupied by headlines with the name of the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un, who "disappeared from the radar" about 2 weeks ago, ceasing to appear in public.

Rumors are multiplying exponentially:
  • Someone claims that he is seriously ill and had an unsuccessful heart operation.
  • South Korea insists he's okay.
  • And the DPRK media itself calmly writes about the work of the top leader.

Why is there such a stir? Is it not the fear of world leaders over the "secret of succession to the throne" (North Korea is still a nuclear-armed country)? Or is this skillfully staged hype exclusively for the media?

Four factors causing this hype

Factor 1) The medical aspect

Many medical experts believe that, judging by the appearance of the North Korean leader, he may have some specific illnesses.

But I do not think that is the main thing.

Factor 2) Information occasion

Indeed, there has been no news of Kim Jong Un for 2 weeks so far. If you pay attention to the official website of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), you can find there is a special section: Supreme Leader's Activities. The section is for news about the revolutionary activities of the respected and beloved Supreme Leader. The section has not changed since April 22.

North Korean leaders could, if they wanted, give some sort of a reassuring sign to both their own people and the international community. But they are silent. Why? This is suggestive.

Factor 3) The so-called "succession to the throne"

People are certainly worried about what will happen to North Korea in the event of a change of leadership. Nevertheless, the DPRK is an unrecognized nuclear missile power. And what line will the new leadership take? If the rumors about the poor health of the leader are justified, then neighboring countries - and not very neighboring ones - have the right to worry.

Factor 4) An attempt to "rest" from the theme of the pandemic

The world is so tired of discussing and fighting the pandemic, and of restrictions that diversion of attention to exotic news such as the health of North Korean top leader may be needed. For this reason, many media have taken some dilution of their news feed.

5) It has already happened more than once

The fact is that all North Korean leaders, starting with Kim Il Sung, were buried several times during their stay in power as declared victims of assassination attempts and so on.

But then after some time, they arose, appeared and continued to lead.

This is caused by informational closure on the one hand and by the desire of some forces to arrange "changes" in the DPRK on the other hand.

6) Who are these forces?

It is known that in the United States and South Korea there are quite influential groups of the ruling elite who believe that the current regime in North Korea is subject to liquidation, and the divided country has to be united under the terms of South Korea.

And for this purpose, a lot of work is being done: propaganda, financing, and so on. And of course, such a situation, when the leader is not visible in public at least, causes the activation of these forces with attempts to undermine the country by sowing doubts and chaos.

7) Throws are already in use. And their credibility is "no bother"

There were reports that helicopters flew over Pyongyang and people swept everything off the shelves. These reports appeared in the evening of our time and the deep night of Pyongyang.

Of course, no shops at this time were already working there. How could they sweep something off the shelves, it is unclear.

A lot of frankly fake news. For example, there appeared a story about a surgeon who allegedly tremble hands when he did an operation for Kim. Where does the information come from?

Such things happened where there was no one with a telephone in the vicinity. And even more so, to go out, go somewhere, call right away and tell someone would be tantamount to suicide. These are technically and physically impossible things.

It is around these hypes, fakes and news that this campaign is being built.

8) What will be the cause of serious health problem?

He is a man and all people can get sick. Diseases can sometimes develop unpredictably, especially taking into account physical complexion and general condition. But there is no good reason to say that something serious has happened.

By the way, major world leaders so far have refrained from such forecasts, including even President Trump, who is known for his extraordinary statements, including against the North Korean leader.

9) The most recent and, perhaps, one of the most authoritative recent statements is: Kim Jong Un is alive and actively working

We can only wait and expect that the situation will end in the interests of stability, peace, and wish Kim Jong Un health as a person, as he is the leader of the country friendly to Russia.

Moreover, he is the leader of a neighboring country with which we have an agreement on friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation.

A year ago, he met with our president in Vladivostok. He came to us to speak very good words about Russia, about the soldiers of the Red Army, who freed Korea. He said that the memory of this feat will forever remain in the Korean people.

It was very contrasted with the actions of those politicians in Eastern Europe, who are tearing down our monuments and trying in every possible way to distort and silence the role of the Soviet Union, the Soviet people in the liberation of these countries.

So I believe that we should wish our neighbor and our neighboring country peace, stability and prosperity.

(Pravda.ru - April 28, 2020)

* Translation by AI machines such as Yandex, Baidu, and Google before Pyol's minimal editing.
* Numbering by Pyol.

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