Kim Jong-un getting more publicity

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Kim Jong-un getting more publicity

The son and heir apparent of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il is getting out more, as his second outing with his father was reported early yesterday.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong-un had accompanied his father to a concert of the Unhasu Orchestra to mark the upcoming anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party.

With two outings reported by the state’s official media this week, expectations are high for Jong-un to participate in the celebrations for the 65th founding anniversary of the party on Oct. 10. If he does, it will be his first appearance at a public event.

North Korea expert Kim Yong-hyun from Dongguk University in Seoul said reports of Kim Jong-un’s appearances were meant to confirm his place as his father’s heir and to solidify the succession process.

Last week, Jong-un was made a four-star general and given senior party posts at a rare Workers’ Party convention, which was not open to the public. Afterward, state media released images and video of the son for the first time.

This year’s party anniversary is expected to be one of the biggest public events in several years as celebrations have been rare in the recent past because of the dire state of North Korea’s economy.

Reports say preparations for the celebration have begun, and may include a massive military parade. KCNA reported yesterday that the state had succeeded in developing 100 kinds of fireworks, which will make their debut during the celebration.

However, North Korea still has not released close-up pictures or video footage of the son, making some experts doubt that the regime is ready to have him appear at the anniversary celebration.

Yesterday’s report said the concert audience enjoyed songs singing “high praises of the 65 years covered by the WPK [Workers’ Party of Korea] winning one victory after another.”

Kim Jong-il expressed “great satisfaction” and said the country has an “immensely rosy future ... thanks to the guidance of the great Party.”

Other high-ranking members of the Workers’ Party were also present at the performance, including Kim Yong-nam, Choe Yong-rim and Ri Yong-ho, members of the Presidium of the party’s Politburo, and Kim Jong-un’s aunt and uncle, Kim Kyong-hui and Jang Song-thaek.

Ri was given an equal position with Jong-un during last week’s party convention as vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, while Kim Kyong-hui was also made a four-star general.

A similar group accompanied Kim Jong-un and his father on a trip to a military base in North Korea that was reported earlier this week.

“Kim Jong-un will try to rally the support of the people by frequently accompanying his father on his trips, which will be made known to the public through the news,” said Jang Yong-seok of the Institute for Peace Affairs.

By Christine Kim []
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