North Korea’s mysterious, baby-faced leader has accomplished a remarkable feat, state media has revealed: Kim Jong-un has climbed a 9,000-foot tall mountain – in leather shoes and a thin overcoat.
That odd disparity between state media claims and Kim Jong-un’s choice of clothing — blatantly obvious in a series of promotional photos — was pointed out by BuzzFeed. (The 32-year-old also reportedly has leg problems and has been walking with a cane recently.)
Kim “climbed” the volcanic mountain, Mt. Paektu, to show the North Korean people that he is an “energetic man of the people,” BBC News added, and he often makes such field trips to encourage that image. He’s visited factories, been on a fighter jet, and screamed on a roller coaster. He “hiked” up Mr. Paektu to see Korean People’s Army pilots who had toured battle sites in the area.
Unsurprisingly, state media gushed over Jong-un’s accomplishment in an account rich in symbolism, drama, and awe.
“Supreme Commander said that the summit) is impressive and the sunrise over … is a charming and beautiful sight rare to be seen, adding the new morning of Korea dawns from Mt. Paektu. (It) is the ancestral mountain and the sacred mountain of revolution associated with the soul of the Korean nation and suggesting the spirit of Songun Korea, and it is the cradle of the Korean revolution, the symbol of victory and the eternal beacon of the Songun (army-first) revolution.”
Kim is indeed beaming on the summit, with the sun rising in the distance. No doubt it’s a beautiful peak, but it’s also the site of another legend – the birth of Jong-Un’s father, Kim Jong II, ABC News reported.
That is, of course, according to the regime’s own origin story, which historians take with a grain of salt; he was probably born in Russia.
But there’s a grave truth behind these uplifting pictures: North Korea spends a pretty penny to maintain Kim Jong-un’s “cult of personality,” and even more to develop its military arsenal and nuclear program, BBC News added. Meanwhile, 16 million North Koreans — two-thirds of the population — are starving.
But nevermind that — Kim Jong-un trudged through snow 9,000 feet into the air — in leather loafers, no less. Kim waxed poetic about the experience and hinted about the revolution Mt. Paektu should inspire in his people and the fighter pilots he climbed the mountain to see.
“When one climbs snow-stormy Mt. Paektu and undergoes the blizzards over it, one can experience its real spirit and harden the resolution to accomplish the Korean revolution. Climbing (it) provides precious mental pabulum more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon and it is the way for carrying forward the revolutionary traditions of Paektu and giving steady continuity to the glorious Korean revolution.”
By the way, BBC News helpfully defined the obscure word “pabulum: bland or insipid intellectual matter, entertainment.” That seems about right.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]