A documentary shown on Tuesday has a limping North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tackling the impoverished country’s “worst-ever challenges,” including the coronavirus pandemic and sanctions over its weapons programmes.
The news: The 110-minute film, titled “The Great Year of Victory, 2021,” recounted a number of accomplishments throughout the year, including missile development, construction, and efforts to combat the epidemic.
- The presenter praised such initiatives as marks of success led by a considerably slimmer Kim, echoing earlier documentaries used by state media to create a semi-divine personality cult around him.
- The video did not go into the difficulties, but reclusive North Korea, unlike prosperous, democratic South Korea, is experiencing severe food shortages as a result of sanctions, drought, and floods.
What’s going on: North Korea has closed its borders despite not having confirmed any COVID-19 incidents. Despite a deadlock over discussions intended at eliminating its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for relief from UN and US sanctions, it has continued to develop its weapons programmes.
- Kim was seen struggling to go down makeshift stairs during a visit to a rainy construction site at one point in the video.
- Although the film did not specifically mention Kim’s weight reduction, he has appeared slimmer in recent official media pictures.
- In June, official media reported that North Koreans were “heartbroken” to see a “emaciated” Kim resurface after a nearly month-long seclusion from the public spotlight.
- Due to his tight grasp on power and the ambiguity surrounding succession plans, international media, intelligence agencies, and specialists are keeping a close eye on Kim’s health.
- Kim was also seen alone on a beach watching the sunrise while riding a white horse. On another ride, he was spotted with military leaders, including Pak Jong Chon, the Korean People’s Army’s chief of general staff, and tanks performing live-fire drills.
- Rare shots of a new 80-storey skyscraper and a big apartment area were included in the film, as well as footage and images from a defence expo held in October and prior missile testing.
In December, Kim claimed the ruling party had made progress in following a five-year economic plan he released early last year, but he predicted a “very giant struggle” this year, citing the epidemic and economic challenges.