Kim Jong Il, the former head of the Republic of North Korea before he passed away, was long noted for his maintaining his privacy, his strange taste in Hollywood films, and his use of leverage against South Korea. Now that his son, Kim Jong Un, has taken the reins of North Korea, experts are watching to see how his leadership style will vary from his father’s leadership style.
Today, the New York Times reported that Kim Jong Un has a new wife who was “debuted” wearing Chanel. The NYT reports that this is newsworthy for two reasons: first, Kim Jong Il married multiple women, but never introduced them publicly. Second, North Korean experts believe that this may be a sign that Kim Jong Il is attempting to build a more open government within his country.
So little is known about the North Korean leader that many experts are forced to use what basically amounts to gossip columnist speculation to understand the motivations of the new leader. Some notable changes have been an appearance with Mickey Mouse by the North Korean leader and an admission by Kim Jong Un that many people in North Korea are currently starving.
Kim Jong Un’s publicity stunt with Mickey Mouse is deemed as notable because Mickey Mouse is a “symbol of the West.” The obvious change between the admission of the starving people in North Korea is that Kim Jong Il did not admit anything about the poverty within his nation unless there was a political motivation that he could use as leverage to get aid, financial support, or business opportunities within North Korea.
It might be too early to tell exactly how Kim Jong Un’s role as the leader of North Korea will differ from that of his father; it also might be too early to determine whether or not the little information that the press has to go on is enough to gauge and predict Kim Jong Un’s policy decisions.
It’s almost like the press and policy analysts are so short of information that they overspeculate on any little thing that Kim Jong Un does. The North Korean paparazzi (if that even exists) and the policy analysts have joined forces to figure out how the actions of Kim Jong Un will predict his leadership abilities.
So far, the press is not saying much about his wife, so it’s likely that not much is known about her. I guess all we can do is wait and watch with the rest of the world.