North Korea: Kim Jong Un’s daughter appears at military parade
Kim Jong-Un this week upped the ante and caused a flurry of military action, calling on his weapons producers to carry out a “drastic boost” to the manufacturing of missiles, rocket-launcher shells and other weapons.
Various visits to the country’s munitions factories have stirred in the North Korean a lust for more: the country must step up war planning, he said.
While characteristic of his leadership, there is no surprise Kim is pushing the boat out on the weapons front, just as the US and South Korea prepare for joint annual military drills.
Nowadays, North Korea has become known for mainly two things: Kim and nuclear weapons.
But there’s much more to the Hermit Kingdom than just that, including the varied and often bizarre rules imposed by the despot on his people, some of which Express.co.uk explores here.
READ MORE North Koreans told to protect Kim Jong-un’s portraits ahead of deadly storm
Protect the Leader’s Face!
The most recent order from the top came just as tropical storm Khanun reaches the regime’s shores.
In a bid to protect their Supreme Leader’s pride, North Koreans have been told that they must do everything possible to protect portraits of the Kim dynasty.
The official newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, the Rodong Sinmun, urged that people’s “foremost focus” should be on “ensuring the safety” of propaganda portraits of its current leader, his father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
The large number of statues, mosaics, murals, and other monuments to the Kim dynasty must also be protected, the paper added.
It’s not only the Kim monuments that are at risk from the storm. As Khanun approaches the North, millions of already impoverished North Koreans are facing dire circumstances should their homes be damaged by the extreme weather.
The storm has already caused floods and landslides in South Korea, with at least one death and more than 16,000 people forced to evacuate at-risk areas.
You sleep, You Die
Falling asleep at work is at most embarrassing but not a life-or-death scenario.
Things are different in North Korea where falling asleep on the job or in a meeting can land you at death’s door.
Former defence minister Hyon Yong-chol learned this the hard way in 2015.
Having fallen asleep during formal military rallies, specifically at an event Kim attended, Hyon was reportedly executed with an anti-aircraft gun.
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Happiness? That’s Banned
While this rule isn’t enforced all the time, on certain days of national significance, the Kim family has been known to ban laughing.
The one day a year when any sign of happiness is definitely off the cards is July 8 — the death anniversary of Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea.
According to Radio Free Asia’s Korean service, the restrictions included an explicit ban on laughter and alcohol during the 11-day period of mourning.
Your own personal toilet
According to sources close to Kim, it would be “unthinkable” for the Supreme Leader to use a public bathroom.
And so everywhere he goes, so uses a portable toilet. One of the many reasons for this, the source said, is so that Kim’s doctors can inspect his faeces as they “contain information about his health status”.
Bodyguards are hired to supervise the toilets he uses, and anyone caught trying to use them faces the death sentence.
The Supreme Leader’s Supreme Health
After a notable period of absence in 2021, Kim returned to the limelight noticeably slimmer.
The fact led to a wave of speculation: was the Supreme Leader suffering from some debilitating illness? Was the food shortage in North Korea so bad it had reached the upper echelons of society?
Talk about Kim’s health is considered treason in North Korea, and back then, the authorities were tasked with weeding out anyone who dared speak about his weight — everyone from officials to residents across the country.
In what was a rare acknowledgement of the public’s concerns, North Korea state TV quoted a resident as saying: “Our people’s hearts ached most when we saw Kim’s emancipated look.
“Everyone says their tears are welling up in their eyes naturally.”
North Koreans were duly told to stop gossiping and appreciate the hard work their leader was doing to keep the country great.
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