My friend Ryan just emailed me a link to this Globe and Mail article about a portrait presumed to be of Kim Jong-un which was recently photographed by a Canadian tourist in Rason, North Korea. It may give clues as to how Kim the youngest's past will be portrayed in future propaganda, with the suggestion that he was sent to the west to learn about its ways and technology.
“It’s big news,” said Brian Myers, an expert on North Korea at Dongseo University in South Korea. “It’s hard to be completely certain on the basis of an untitled image alone. … But I cannot imagine a schoolboy outside the Kim family meriting this kind of painting, and it is very similar in mood and layout to depictions of the young Kim Il-sung and the young Kim Jong-il. So I would assume that it is Kim Jong-un although it is not a particularly striking likeness in view of the Kim Jong-un we have seen photographed in the past few months.”[...]The entire article is well worth reading.
The portrait appears to be the start of an effort to turn [a] potential liability into in asset. “It goes to the heart of what will be the regime’s main problem in glorifying the boy, namely the fact that he was overseas during at least part of the famine or [so-called] Arduous March. The regime is for some reason loath to let foreigners see this nascent personality cult,” Prof. Myers said. “We have seen footage of [Kim Jong-un], and of course we can see him on the TV news every few days … but we know next to nothing about how the regime is articulating his biography. This painting offers important insight into what kind of mythobiography the regime is either planning or is already teaching the masses in party meetings, study meetings etc. outside the view of foreign visitors.” [...]
There is, however, some debate among Pyongyang-watchers over whether the picture is important. Andrei Lankov, a respected North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, scoffed at the notion that this was the new boy’s coming-out portrait. “This is his grandfather. Generalissimo Kim Il-sung. The background and school uniform leaves no doubt about it: the late 1920s,” Prof. Lankov wrote in an e-mail after seeing a copy of the portrait.
From there I clicked over to this article, which looks at the what responsibilities Canada might have as a member of the United Nations Command in the event of a Korean War. It has this to say about Canada's current military involvement in Korea:
The briefing note indicates Canada's military footprint in the Korean Peninsula today is very light. Canada's defence attache to Seoul, a colonel, and his assistant, a sergeant, represent the country on the UNC. Canada's defence attach in Tokyo represents Canada at the UNC's “rear” headquarters in Japan. And Canada also contributes a major to the Korean Army Staff College.Meanwhile, this Korea Herald article provides some numbers when discussing North Korea's military capabilities, some of which are rather sobering (like the north having 5,200 multiple launch rocket systems).
And while on the topic of the north, Scott Burgeson sent me a link to this post about North Korean anchorwoman Ri Chun-hee. She really does need to be heard to be believed. She's also looked at in this broadcast by Jason Strother.