News / Asia

North Korean Film Promotes Young Leader’s Military Experience

Kim Jong Un holds an assault rifle, equipped with a sniper's scope, in a scene from a program broadcast Sunday on North Korean television.
Kim Jong Un holds an assault rifle, equipped with a sniper's scope, in a scene from a program broadcast Sunday on North Korean television.

North Korea's media made no overt reference to its new leader's apparent birthday, Sunday, in a country where the birthdays of his deceased father and grandfather are celebrated as national holidays.  But the day was marked with the broadcast of a television documentary highlighting Kim Jong Un's experiences guiding the country's military.

Sunday, millions of North Koreans viewed a 50 minute television program showing Kim Jong Un greeting enthusiastic soldiers, driving a military tank, handling weapons, sitting in the cockpit of a military aircraft and riding a horse.

Kim Jong Un shown in documentary in the hatch of a KPA tank.
Kim Jong Un shown in documentary in the hatch of a KPA tank.

In one scene, the narrator says the soldiers are moved by their supreme leader's heartfelt patriotism.  He is reported to have told the soldiers his life-long mission is to vigorously lead the struggle to ensure the army's utmost readiness for combat.

There were also numerous clips of Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be in his late 20's and educated in Switzerland, smiling while greeting military units. That contrasts the image of his father, Kim Jong Il, who over the decades, frequently displayed a serious expression during his guided inspection tours.

Analyst Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group in Seoul says it is likely no coincidence Kim Jong Un's public profile more closely resembles his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. North Korea's founder, who died in 1994, led his country before it experienced severe economic decline and widespread hunger.

"I think many North Korean people are dissatisfied with the situation. There's a lot of hardship in that society. I think a lot of people are looking to him [Kim Jong Un] as a focal point to restore some of the successes of the DPRK [North Korea], Pinkston said. "So, maybe, he wants to present an image that is positive and that will encourage people to rally around him and get back to positive productivity, et cetera."

Another scene, apparently shot in 2009 but aired for the first time Sunday, shows Kim Jong Un interacting with officials at the control center for a rocket launch. The narrator quotes Kim as saying he would go to war if the enemies of North Korea shot down the rocket.

North Korea had claimed it put a satellite into orbit on April Fifth, 2009. But officials in Seoul and Washington, at the time, said that did not happen and the launch was really a test of a long-range missile.

Analyst Pinkston says the newly revealed presence of Kim at the 2009 launch and his war threat is meant to inform North Koreans that he will be strong against military adversaries. He says it also warns South Korea and the international community that the new leader will not hesitate to respond to any perceived threats.

"It also could be a signal about future missile launches that, I think, would be configured as an attempted satellite launch and sending the signal, if in fact, there's any attempted intercept that North Korea will be prepared to respond militarily," Pinkston stated.

In addition to its ballistic missile development North Korea has tested two atomic devices.

North Korea says Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack last month.

Since then his third son, Kim Jong Un, has quickly been built up as the father's successor and the "supreme leader" of the people, the party and the military.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid