The North Korean state newspaper has admitted that the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, cannot bend space and time after years of mythology.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper's admission is the latest sign that the country is moving away from spreading myths about its leaders and is instead adopting an approach that, according to analysts, focuses on the humanization of the dictator.
"Realistically, a person can't suddenly disappear and reappear by folding the room," the newspaper said this week, denying that members of the Kim family are able to play "chukjibeop" – a hypothetical method of closing the room fold and cover large distances quickly.
In Korean, the term is translated as "waning magic" and is similar to supernatural speed or teleportation.
On Thursday, an official from the South Korean Ministry of Unification said that the secret regime's trend to demystify its leaders – Kim Jong Un and his father and former leader Kim Jong-il – was "remarkable" according to the Yonhap news agency.
“It seems to emphasize patriotism and love for the people rather than the mystification of the leaders. We will continue to analyze the impact, ”the official told the agency.
Since Kim Jong Un failed to reach agreement with US President Donald Trump at her second summit in Hanoi last year, he's been trying to show his "more human" side and has asked people not to mythologize him.
Pictured: Kim Jong Un is said to be appearing publicly for the first time after 20 days away, sparking rumors about his health and indicating that he had died as a result of botched heart surgery
In March of last year after the collapse of the negotiations, state media quoted Kim as saying, "If the revolutionary activity and appearance of a leader are mystified, the truth will be obscured."
"Absolute loyalty would arise if (they) were fascinated by the leader human and companionship," he added.
Earlier this month, Kim Jong Un appeared to be appearing publicly for the first time in 20 days away, sparking rumors about his health.
Some reports in April said that he had undergone heart surgery. A Japanese news agency said the operation went wrong and he was in a vegetative state. Other outlets went so far as to say that he had died.
Since then, South Korean intelligence officials have said there is no sign that Kim Jong Un has had a heart operation after rumors say he was "seriously ill" or even dead after an operation.
However, Kim Jong Un has made an unusually low number of public appearances in the past two months, another three weeks without state media reporting, according to analysts, that he attended a public event, which could be due to the corona virus.
Suh Hoon spoke to a parliamentary committee, the head of South Korea's intelligence agency, on May 6, saying nothing showed that the rumors about Kim's illness were true.
"NIS estimates that it has at least not had any heart-related surgery or interventions," committee member Kim Byung-kee told reporters. "He usually did his job when he wasn't seen in public."
"At least there is no heart-related health problem."
Since Kim Jong Un failed to reach agreement with US President Donald Trump at his second summit in Hanoi last year (Image: June 30, 2019), he has been trying to show his "more human" side
However, lawmakers said Kim Jong Un had only 17 public appearances so far this year, compared to an average of 50 from previous years that NIS attributed to a possible coronavirus outbreak in North Korea.
"Kim Jong Un has focused on the consolidation of internal affairs such as the armed forces and party state assemblies, and concerns about the corona virus have further restricted its public activity," said Kim Byung-kee.
"Although North Korea claims there are no cases, it cannot be ruled out that there will be an outbreak since they had an active exchange between China and China before the border closed in late January."
Kim's low profile comes from the fact that North Korea is taking anti-coronavirus measures, despite the country indicating that there are no confirmed cases, and after intense speculation about his health last month after missing an important anniversary.
Kim made four public appearances in April and May so far, compared to 27 in the same period last year.
According to Chad O & # 39; Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group, a Seoul-based organization that pursues North Korea, Kim has been the 21 least public appearance since taking office in 2011.
"This is not normal," he said in a post on Twitter this week.
A photo released by the North Korea official news agency shows Kim Jong Un (pictured middle, May 1st) cutting a ribbon at a factory graduation ceremony, marking his first public appearance in 20 days
As a leader with near absolute power over 25.5 million people in North Korea and access to a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, Kim's health and whereabouts are frequently checked for signs of instability by the international community.
However, information in North Korea is tightly controlled and independently confirmed details about Kim are almost non-existent.
South Korean officials have stated that they believe Kim's limited public appearances may be precautionary measures against the concerns of the coronavirus. North Korea has canceled, postponed or weakened many major public gatherings because of the new corona virus.
When asked about Kim's absence, the South Korean Ministry of Unification said on Friday it was monitoring the situation, but noted that Kim is often not seen in public.
Citing an unnamed South Korean government official, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that Kim may be doing his job in a preferred seaside villa in Wonsan.
The North Korean head of state could also simply focus on some of the domestic and political goals he outlined before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a former North Korea open source intelligence analyst in the U.S. government.
"COVID remains a major problem for the country, but state media coverage of COVID has decreased in the past month or so, so I haven't seen the regime's growing concern," she said.
Friday has been three weeks since the state media last showed pictures of Kim attending a public event.
North Korean state media reported that Kim attended the fertilizer plant opening ceremony on May 1. This appearance was a reappearance for Kim, whose unprecedented absence from a major holiday on April 15 triggered weeks of international speculation about his health and whereabouts.
Since then, the state media has spread a steady stream of stories about Kim's sending or receiving letters and diplomatic correspondence, but has not shown it at public events.
North Korean media has been promoting myths about the Kim family for years, and continues to believe that they are capable of superhuman acts. Pictured: residents of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, see Kim Jong Un’s first supposed public appearance on May 1 on large screens
Kim Jong Un has had unusually few public appearances this year. Experts believe this is due to Covid-19, although North Korea claims to have seen no cases of the virus despite its shared border with China, where the virus is believed to originate
Meanwhile, North Korea has suspended talks with the United States until the results of the US presidential election in November are known, Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang told news agencies on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un three times at historic summits and expressed his admiration for him, despite hopes that a comprehensive agreement has eased.
"The dialogue with Washington, which they currently think is senseless, appears to have been postponed until at least after the US presidential election," said Ambassador Alexander Matsegora in an interview with the Interfax news agency.
"You'll see what happens next," he said.
North Korea has launched a series of missiles as it demands concessions from the Trump administration that international sanctions should remain in place until the regime is fully denuclearized.
Matsegora said he expected the Washington-Pyongyang dialogue to resume at some point, adding that Russia was unhappy with the interruption of talks, which could increase tensions in the border region.
"Moscow clearly cannot be satisfied with the freeze in the US-North Korean dialogue, which is escalating in the tensions in the region near our Far Eastern border," he said.
The ambassador also criticized the US sanctions against North Korea, which hindered the delivery of important medical equipment to Pyongyang.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for relief from sanctions during the coronavirus pandemic in March and told the G20 leaders that it was a matter of life and death.
Matsegora said sanctions blocked North Korea's supply of medicines and medical devices, and Washington "hunted down anyone who has at least some trade in North Korea, even when delivering completely harmless things."
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