Kim Jong Un looks like he’s going through some stuff.
He’s infinitely better off than the population he governs, many of whom have been consigned to prison camps, but some of his recent shows of emotion have prompted speculation about what’s happening inside North Korea’s borders.
Recently, he went on the record to apologise for the death of a South Korean fisheries official, who was shot dead by North Korean troops after crossing a maritime border between the two countries.
This from a man who was reported to have executed two senior North Korean officials with an anti-aircraft gun in 2016.
At this weekend’s military parade, held to mark the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ party, he publicly choked up, shedding tears whilst issuing an apology for “his failure to guide the country through tumultuous times exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak”.
More from the Guardian:
…Kim removed his glasses and wiped away tears – an indication, analysts say, of mounting pressure on his regime.
“Our people have placed trust, as high as the sky and as deep as the sea, in me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily,” he said, according to a translation of his comments in the Korea Times.
“I am really sorry for that…Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country upholding the cause of the great comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their lives.”
At the start of the video below, you can see the dictator choking up a touch, followed by some of those in attendance laying it on pretty thick:
Footage out of North Korea really does seem otherworldly.
So why is he now being contrite, and doing so publicly?
“It is important to look at why he has come to shed tears at such an occasion,” Hong Min, director of the North Korea division at the Korean Institute for National Unification, told the Korea Times. “Underneath his message, one can sense that Kim is feeling a lot of pressure on his leadership.”
At the same event, Kim also unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other military hardware, which is a worry for South Korea and those further afield.
Without mentioning the US, Kim said he would “fully mobilise” his nuclear force if threatened, which a US official called “disappointing”.
It’s almost as though those historic talks with a sitting American president were a giant photo op or something.
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