Kim Jong-un: the leader is not so crazy

  • New Zealand journalist Anna Fifield denies the caricature of the tyrant in the book ‘The Great Successor’

  • The author assures that he is a ruthless dictator and not the comic book villain who has permeated the imagination of the West

While malnourished North Korean children ate seeds for food, teenager Kim Jong-un watched action movies and enjoyed sushi prepared by the Japanese chef. Kenji Fujimoto unaware of the great famine that the country ruled by his father experienced in the 1990s, Kim Jong-il, a ‘playboy’ lover of movies and liquor.

Jong-un grew up in a house where the children moved in an electric golf cart between mountains of Lego, Playmobil, puzzles and plastic guns, although he also had a real firearm: a Colt 45 that he started from the Belt take it. 11 years old. At 12, he entered the International School of Bern under a false identity, a private English-speaking school attended by the children of diplomats, where alumni remember him as an introverted and picturesque creature with a baking-style hairstyle, who always He was in tracksuits, he was not a party animal, he did not drink alcohol and he avoided contact with girls. His points were never exceptional.

He’s a fan of the Chicago Bulls, a fan of James Bond movies and a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

He lived behind a tight curtain until 2005, when this die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, James Bond movie lover and Jean-Claude Van Damme fan, was nominated to the North Korean elite as the Great Successor. I was 25 years old. Six years later, he would become the third member of the saga to hold power in North Korea. Many analysts had predicted that the regime would not come through the transition to a third totalitarian leader. They were wrong.

perception of error

The New Zealand journalist Anna Fifield, author of a highly documented reconstruction of the North Korean puzzle (‘The Great Successor’, Captain Swing), not only did she see any cracks in the communist facade seven decades after the proclamation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but that “absolute wacko” of the What Donald Trump spoke before praising himself as a leader is far from it.

The proof? “He has been in power for 10 years. He is cunning, ruthless and resourceful. I would say he is rational and calculating. He did everything he had to do to become a totalitarian dictator,” Fifield replied by email. of his ridiculous parades we are underestimating the threat that Kim Jong-oen poses to the world and above all to the 25 million North Koreans.

“He is cunning, ruthless and resourceful. I would say he is rational and calculating,” says Anna Fifield.

Commander of an army of 1.2 million soldiers – the fourth largest in the world – Kim he is the youngest world leader with nuclear weapons, his insurance policy not to end up like Muammar Gaddafi, defended against the United States and consolidated its control over the regime. Any hope of seeing signs of opening up in the third member of the Kim tribe comes across the obstacle of a family saga that began with Kim Il-sung, the guerrilla who fought against Imperial Japan in the 1930s.

ejected status

“A slight economic freedom has been allowed because the state can not provide food or medicine, although it is very much controlled. We are not talking about the kind of opening that China and Vietnam have experienced,” adds Fifield, not to his surprise. hides the fact that Kim Jong-un can get hold of the latest Mercedes Benz model despite international sanctions.

“The big mystery is how it continues to survive despite its pariah status, because North Korea is clearly a pariah state. Most countries have avoided or ignored it and those associated with the regime, such as China and Russia, “For geopolitical reasons – the use of North Korea as an instrument against the United States – more than for affinities or shared values”, the journalist continues.

The difficult follow-up

Kim Jong-un’s strategy to stay in power was to kill his own uncle and stepbrother – a notorious poisoning in the middle of Kuala Lumpur airport – and to win the favor of the ‘millennials’ of his generation win, so that it feels like their lives have improved, that they can go to cafes to drink cappuccinos and wear fashionable clothes like the ones they see on South Korean soaps. “He is especially focused on them because they are the one who can possibly support him for decades.”

His strategy is to win the ‘millennials’, who can now go to pubs to drink a cappuccino

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And the successor to the Great Successor? Some wondered if Kim Yo-jong, the sister in whom the leader has full confidence can take his place, but the New Zealand journalist has a hard time imagining that scenario in such a patriarchal country. “If the North Korean regime wants to continue the lie of the deified Kim family, they are the only option,” Fifield said. “However, if Kim Jong-un were to leave suddenly, it is more likely that North Korea would eventually be ruled by a military junta like the one in Myanmar.”

For the rest, the North Korean regime is jealous of all the details related to the leader’s health. In meetings held outside North Korea, his delegation travel with a portable toilet for your exclusive use. There is therefore no sample left from which medical information can be extracted.

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