Decoding The Riddle Of Kim Jong Un: An Inside Look At The North Korean Dictator’S Rise To Power
The rise and reign of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has been steeped in mystery and confusion.
Since taking the mantle of leadership in 2011, the enigmatic figure has often been the source of jokes and memes because of his seemingly childish demeanor.
Despite his public ridicule, Kim Jong Un has wielded power in terrifying and brutal ways.
He has killed political opponents-including his own family-ruthlessly imprisoned citizens, disregarded international agreements, and created an aura of fear and control within North Korea’s borders.
CIA officer Christine Graver charted out Kim Jong Un’s peculiar life, character, and antics to gain a better understanding of why he is so feared yet still respected by many North Koreans despite his horrific policies.
From her discoveries, we learn how the dictator might have been chosen as successor by his father; how he is engineering a modern day dictatorship; as well as what mistakes Trump made when prompted to size up the “Rocket Man”.
Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, And Kim Jong Un Are All Linked In Their Power And Influence In North Korea
Kim Jong Un inherited the legacy of both his father and grandfather, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
His grandfather was a powerful leader in North Korea for almost 50 years, ruling the country with an iron fist and setting up political education that instilled loyalty to him among citizens.
He also left behind a legacy of fear and obedience by punishing dissidents harshly and setting up a system that reinforced the idea of god-like superhuman abilities possessed only by him.
His son Kim Jong Il built upon this legacy by creating massive sculptures, artworks, monuments, films, and works of literature in tribute to himself.
He further expanded his father’s political base while also tightening security measures as North Korea looked increasingly isolated from the world.
Under his rule, the country started developing its nuclear weapons program in order to act as a powerful deterrent.
This inheritance of power was passed down to Kim Jong Un when he became supreme leader in 2011.
His father had been designated as his successor long before he passed away and from childhood onward, Kim Jong Un was groomed to be king.
Thus, he grew up fully aware of what it meant for him to receive this legacy – one full of power but also responsibility for billions of people’s lives throughout the dictatorship.
It’S Unclear Why Kim Jong Il Chose Kim Jong Un As His Successor, But It May Have Had Something To Do With His Competitive And Explosive Personality
It remains uncertain why Kim Jong Il ultimately chose Kim Jong Un as his successor to the North Korean leadership.
Some suggest it was his loyalty and passion for sports, while others think it simply came down to his two older brothers not being perceived as strong enough candidates.
Jong Un’s oldest sibling, Jong Nam, was favored by the leader initially.
However, after exiling their mother he was eventually deemed too pro-reform and westernized to take up their father’s mantle.
Additionally, her son had a tendency for embarrassing public incidents which likely colored him in a negative light.
His middle child, Jong Chol, wasn’t quite looked at as an appropriate leader either due to being too soft and taking more of an interest in music and basketball rather than politics.
That left Jong Un as the only realistic option for succession; who in addition to displaying passion for competitive sports also showed great loyalty from a young age.
Kim Jong Un Demonstrated His Skill For Leveraging North Korea’S Nuclear And Cyber Warfare Capabilities From The Outset Of His Rule
Since his debut in a military parade in October of 2010, Kim Jong Un had one thing on his mind: developing North Korea’s nuclear and cyberpower.
He was only 26 at the time and was soon given the title of four-star general despite having no military experience.
The parade was meant to show the world that both the party and military were ready to legitimize Jong Un’s rise through the ranks.
Once Jong Un became dictator after his father’s death in 2011, he quickly set about working toward increasing North Korea’s nuclear might on the international stage.
As part of this mission, Kim entered into various agreements with foreign nations, insisting on suspending uranium enrichment or nuclear tests in exchange for aid like food but violating promises shortly after.
Additionally, Kim has developed North Korea’s armed forces although its equipment is old and its soldiers malnourished.
Nevertheless, when it comes to cyberwarfare, the country is much more resilient; launching cyberattacks since 2010 as well as stealing from foreign banks and sending computer viruses – most notably against Sony Pictures Entertainment in response to their release of The Interview (a comedy film which featured Kim).
The hackers released confidential information online causing Sony to cease screening of the film much to President Obama’s disapproval.
Kim Jong Un Uses High-End Developments To Paint A Picture Of Modern North Korea
Kim Jong Un is known for creating a “socialist fairyland” and cultivating a modern, twenty-first century dictatorship in North Korea.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Pyongyang.
The capital of North Korea has been upgraded and now contains many of the features you would expect to find in a well developed city, such as high-rise apartments, shops with modern goods, Rollerblade users on the sidewalks, people wearing fashionable clothes and strolling around.
To further promote his vision of a twenty-first century dictatorship Kim has also tried to develop the east-coast area of Wonsan into an attractive tourist destination.
Spending millions to build the necessary infrastructure including a department store, golf course, airport, and ski resort.
With projects like these Kim hopes to give the population hope that despite what may have happened in the past they can still live a prosperous life due to his policy of byungjin (or parallel development) which argues that North Korea can simultaneously have both nuclear weapons and economic success.
This will no doubt contrast with other countries view on North Korea being impoverished and bleak so it must be taken into consideration when thinking about Kim’s motivation for these developments.
North Korea’S Reign Of Terror: A Seemingly Modern Facade Hides A Brutally Repressive Regime
Behind the modern facade of North Korea lies a brutal and oppressive regime, designed to control its citizens and suppress any dissent.
This is apparent in the troubling reality of the prison camps, where up to 120,000 innocent people are subjected to unimaginable brutality.
The prisoners are forced to work strenuous jobs in deplorable conditions on a starvation diet, with water torture, lack of sleep and mobility, and even rape and forced abortions commonplace.
The fear-mongering extends far beyond the prison camps, with a pervasive surveillance state embedded in society.
Citizens must abide by strict ethical guidelines enforced by vigilantes and social inspectors; minor transgressions can result in public humiliation or imprisonment.
Kim Jong Un also eliminates potential threats to his authority with assassinations – often of his own family members – proving that he will go to extreme lengths to maintain power.
Further wariness arises from North Korea’s possession of chemical and biological weapons, which have already been used in politically-motivated attacks such as the 2017 assassination of Jong Nam at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport with VX nerve agent.
All this is evidence that Jong Un’s true agenda involves eliminating anyone who opposes him or who threatens his complete control over North Korea.
How North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un Averted War With Diplomatic Maneuvering
Kim Jong Un is a man who knows the power of public appearance.
He knows that in order to gain political legitimacy on a global scale, he must hold summits with key world leaders.
In April 2018, his strategy paid off with an historic summit between President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and himself.
Kim stepped foot in South Korean territory for the first time since 1970s and made a symbolic gesture by stepping over the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea.
Ultimately, this meeting allowed him to secure economic aid from South Korea, which had been suffering greatly due to United Nations sanctions against North Korea’s exports.
But apparently, this was just a dress rehearsal.
The main event was still coming: a meeting with US president Donald Trump.
All eyes were on Kim as he sought to improve relations between his country and the United States through diplomacy rather than through nuclear provocation and saber rattling.
This ultimately paid off.
After some heated words between the two leaders, their negotiations led to both North Korea and the US maintaining peace instead of turning to war.
This showed both countries are committed to diplomacy as a viable solution for resolving international conflicts without resorting to military force or threats thereof.
As it stands now, Kim has successfully used diplomacy as a way of gaining political legitimacy on the world stage without having to resort to militaristic aggression or weaponry tests – something no other North Korean leader has done before him
Working Together Is Key To Creating Meaningful Change In North Korea
It is essential for world leaders to take a nuanced approach when it comes to Kim Jong Un, and more specifically his nuclear state.
When heading into the Trump-Kim summit , 71 percent of Americans – despite some opposition – supported the idea of talks between Trump and North Korea.
The issue is that Trump failed to understand the nuances surrounding Kim and his nuclear state.
He assumed that by building a rapport with Kim, denuclearization would come easily.
However, this ignored many essential facts – such as North Korea’s identity being tied heavily to its nuclear status, and Kim’s own understanding of this legacy passed down from his father.
In order to make any real progress towards denuclearization, a more subtle approach must be taken.
The US and its allies should work together to create an imposing alliance, one that displays strength in numbers and puts pressure on Kim’s regime.
Furthermore, sanctions should be strongly enforced and Washington should remain committed to the security of their allies throughout these measures.
With this approach, Kim can hopefully be made aware that his nuclear program does not provide any worthwhile benefit for North Korea itself but rather makes it less safe than ever before.
The final takeaway from Becoming Kim Jong Un is that while Kim Jong Un achieved international engagement in 2019 with his meeting with US President Donald Trump, much more is needed to create meaningful progress towards denuclearization.
To achieve this, world leaders will need to work together and place maximum pressure on North Korea.
After all, Ku grew up in a world of immense privilege surrounded by wealth and appreciated the importance of his family lineage.
And it was his father, Kim Jong Il, who bequeathed him the leadership role he currently holds today.
His policy of byungjin also reflects this privileged upbringing – one where nuclear arms development and economic prosperity should work closely together for success.