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North Korea: Why Kim Jong-un's 'end of regime' fears could explain office explosion

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North Korea was revealed to have “completely destroyed” a communications facility intended to maintain relations with South Korea in a “terrific explosion” today (Tuesday). Footage of the event showed billowing white clouds emerge from the office, then the ground shaking in the wake of the explosion. The Inter-Korean communications office, in Kaesong, was set up two years ago to maintain a dialogue between the two states but in recent times tensions have escalated. South Korea was threatened with military force after it was discovered that defectors had been sending anti-Kim Jong-un pamphlets and aid to the Northern nation. Hostility climaxed with the destruction of the empty office facility and further warnings have been made that the dictator might send troops towards a previously demilitarised zone, near the border. Some have theorised that the deeper motive behind Kim Jong-un’s aggressive stunt was to highlight his frustration with sanctions after talks with US President Donald Trump fizzled out. But one expert posed an alternative theory to Express.co.uk that the leader’s destructive behaviour could have been influenced by fear.

North Korea has been threatening to take action against its neighbouring state for the last few weeks in a series of statements from Kim Yo-jong, the dictator’s sister. 

The nation was reported to have ignored the daily phone calls from South Korea, which were meant to help maintain a dialogue, before they blew-up the communications office. 

The explosion earlier today (June 16) took place in the North Korean city of Kaesong, which is around fives miles away from the demilitarised zone at the border.

Due to the destruction taking place on home soil, visible from the South Korean side, many believe this is a public stunt to warn Seoul not to interfere with their affairs. 

But in addition to that, it could also be a further message to the rest of the world that the already extremely isolated state wants to minimise interaction even further.

One theory about why this might be is that information from outside the regime could threaten to dispel myths disseminated by the North Korean government. 

While little is known about the current day-to-life within the state, dictators’ accounts tell us that news is extremely censored and propaganda is rife.

This dates back as far as the inception of the nation in 1948, when Kim Il-sung was honoured with a number of outlandish claims and supernatural powers.

They included that he could transform “pinecones into bullets” and walk on water by stepping onto fallen leaves floating in a lake. 

The Kim dynasty myths often shield a darker truth, for example, the claim that Kim Il-sung could turn “grains of sand into rice” while the nation suffered widespread famine and starvation.  

Under Kim Jong-un, the North Korean government appears to be distancing itself from the previous claims of the family possessing “God-like” qualities.

This was highlighted recently, when officials declared that the leader could not “disappear and reappear by folding space” – which stemmed from propagate beliefs that the Kim family were masters of “chukjibeop” a power similar to time travel.

Despite moving away from the myths spread by previous rulers, other propaganda still peddled within the state influences the population to see an alternative reality, according to expert Chris Mikul.

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During an interview with Express.co.uk in May, he warned that when the regime “collapses” it could spell disaster for North Koreans. 

Mr Mikul said: “I don’t think it will end any time soon but when it does fall it could be disastrous. 

“The country will suddenly open up, allowing the populace to be exposed to the truth and they will realise that they have been living in a ‘Wizard of Oz’ situation.

“I think it will be a nightmare for a lot of people, there could be a lot of suicides because of the devastation from finally seeing reality for the first time.”

Some would argue that by ceasing communication with South Korea and trying to shut-out the rest of the world, this could help to promote the longevity of the ruling family. 

When Kim Jong-un was believed to have died in April after he vanished for nearly three weeks it was claimed that there was a “fight at the top” about who would rule the country next.

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His sister Kim Yo-jong appeared to take the reins, but Mr Mikul claims it would be extremely unlikely for a woman to rule as the nation is “extremely sexist and patriarchal”.

This, he claims, is highlighted by never having a woman in position of power apart from her, the existence of the ‘Joy Brigade’ – a dance troupe who reportedly are sex slaves for the rulers – and more.

If there was “no clear successor” to the leader, whose mortality has been questioned recently due to his excessive smoking and morbid obesity, that too could threaten the collapse of the regime.

Mr Mikul told Express.co.uk: “What could happen is that you would get hundreds of thousands of North Koreans fleeing the country, causing chaos in China, South Korea and Russia.

“So it’s probably better to have Kim Jong-un as leader, even though it is horrible to say – the economy is better under him than it has ever been or as good as it has ever been under the Kims.”

Acts to ensure self-preservation are not unheard of within the Kim dynasty according to Mr Mikul, who believes the motive behind wanting nuclear missiles was to cement their rule.

He added: “We know he has got nuclear weapons now, which makes him the most successful Kim because he has managed to attain a goal they were trying to achieve since the Sixties.

“The reason they want nuclear weapons is because they know it’s an insurance policy that will keep the regime in power forever – and he’s done it.

“In my opinion, he won’t pull the trigger because it would end up in the destruction of North Korea, so maybe it’s good for him to stay there now.”

Chris Mikul’s book ‘My Favourite Dictators’ was published by Headpress in 2019, it is available here.



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