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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

North Koreans Urged to Protect Kim Dynasty Portraits Amidst Tropical Storm Khanun

As tropical storm Khanun threatens North Korea with heavy rain and strong winds, the regime has issued a directive urging citizens to prioritize the protection of portraits and monuments depicting the Kim dynasty, which has ruled the nation since its founding in 1948. The official newspaper of the Korean Workers’ Party, Rodong Sinmun, emphasized that safeguarding propaganda portraits of current leader Kim Jong-un, his father Kim Jong-il, and grandfather Kim Il-sung should be the primary focus during the impending natural disaster.

The call to safeguard these symbols of the ruling family highlights the significance that the North Korean regime places on symbolism to reinforce its legitimacy. Portraits of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung are a ubiquitous presence in homes and offices across the country, and any damage to them, even unintentional, can result in severe consequences, including execution.

Khanun, which reached the Korean peninsula on Thursday, was expected to move further north on Friday. The impoverished North Korean state, characterized by weak infrastructure and deforestation, is highly vulnerable to flooding and the devastating impact of natural disasters. With torrential rains already causing destruction and fatalities in South Korea, the North Korean regime has ordered various sectors and units to undertake measures to mitigate the impact of the impending climate abnormalities caused by the tropical storm.

This directive reflects the regime’s recognition of the potential threat that Khanun poses to the country’s stability, urging preparations to salvage crops and take flood-mitigation measures. The storm’s possible approach towards the capital, Pyongyang, has prompted concerns and necessitated swift action.

Beyond the immediate climate-related concerns, the North Korean regime’s emphasis on protecting the imagery of the Kim dynasty underscores the unique nature of the country’s governance. The prominence of these symbols is not merely political but carries deep religious significance, akin to sacred icons in religious practices. As the storm approaches, North Korea’s dedication to preserving these images underscores the intricate intersection of symbolism, governance, and ideology within the nation.


Q1: Why is the North Korean regime urging citizens to protect portraits of the Kim dynasty during the tropical storm?

The North Korean regime places immense importance on symbolism to legitimize its rule. Protecting portraits of the Kim dynasty reinforces the regime’s legitimacy and highlights the significance of these symbols in North Korean society.

Q2: How does the emphasis on protecting these portraits reflect North Korea’s governance?

The emphasis on protecting the portraits demonstrates the regime’s unique blend of politics and ideology, where these symbols hold both political and religious significance, akin to sacred icons.

Q3: What measures are North Korea’s military and ruling party members taking in response to the approaching storm?

Members of the military and ruling party have been ordered to prepare flood-mitigation measures and salvage crops, particularly in light of reports that the storm might impact the capital, Pyongyang.

Q4: How vulnerable is North Korea to natural disasters like flooding and storms?

North Korea’s weak infrastructure and deforestation make it highly susceptible to the devastating impact of natural disasters, particularly flooding.

Q5: How does this directive reflect the broader governance style of North Korea?

The directive to protect Kim dynasty imagery highlights the regime’s control over various aspects of daily life, including symbolism, as a means of maintaining authority and reinforcing its legitimacy.

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