News about North Korea falls into two categories: the comical and the frightening. Examples of the former type of story abound, a memorable one being the claim by a Japanese expert in 2008 that the country’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, had in fact been dead for five years, and was being played by a series of doubles.
More recently, bizarre footage was broadcast by North Korean state television in which the country’s fresh-faced supremo, Kim Jong-un, paid a seaborne visit to an artillery unit stationed near the country’s southern border. Kim was greeted by a group of hysterical soldiers who raised their arms aloft and cried as if they had been visited by a deity, rather than by a portly young man with an odd haircut.
Foreign Policy In Focus